Diving into the Consumer Survey

A consumer survey is an essential tool for business owners who want a broader understanding of consumer attitudes, desires, and interests before launching a new product, feature, or service. 

With the advent of online survey platforms, consumer surveys have become much easier to deploy. In comparison to traditional methods of face-to-face interviews or paper questionnaires, online surveys are more cost-effective and less time-consuming to conduct. 

It is now easier for any entrepreneur to launch a consumer survey to understand customer sentiment around a new product or service. This article provides an overview of consumer surveys and suggestions on how to get started. 

What Is a Consumer Survey?

Consumer surveys are an increasingly common method of conductinig consumer research.  Surveys can be broadly and easily distributed, leading to a higher response rate than other market research methods. With the capability of gathering large sample pools, it is easier to identify trends and patterns among consumers through an online consumer survey. 

Consumer surveys are used in two different ways:

  • To determine consumer interest in new products, features, or services
  • To understand satisfaction with existing products or services 

Depending on the purpose of your research, a consumer survey could be distributed to existing customers or to a group of people who have no experience with your company but fall within your target market. 

For established businesses, consumer surveys are a great way to understand how existing customers use your product or service, while gauging their interest in potential new features or services. 

For entrepreneurs or investors, consumer surveys can help you understand the desires or aversions towards your business idea. Taking the time to perform a consumer survey can help you understand if your idea will succeed or flop. 

Complete Enumeration vs. Sample Survey 

Before you begin planning your survey, you will need to consider which consumer survey method will best serve your purposes. 

  • Complete enumeration method: With this method, you will need to contact nearly all potential buyers or existing users of your product. A major benefit of this consumer survey method is that it eliminates sampling bias since the entire population is included in the results. Complete enumeration can be challenging in situations where the survey population is large and/or distributed across a wide geographic area.
  • Sample survey method: As the name implies, this method involves distributing surveys to a sample of your population and drawing conclusions based on their responses. In comparison with the enumeration method, this type of survey is easier to conduct and more cost-effective; however, you must scrutinize the results to ensure that sampling bias is not skewing your interpretation. 

Consumer Survey Types

There are three primary ways to conduct a consumer survey. These methods describe the mode of gathering information from consumers. Each has its own set of pros and cons. 

Telephone Surveys

Before the advent of online surveys, telephone surveys were a fundamental component of market research. 

Phone surveys allow you to gain more detailed responses to open-ended questions, as opposed to written surveys, in which open-ended questions are likely to be omitted, given their more laborious and time-consuming nature. 

On the other hand, it may be difficult to get respondents to complete your survey, resulting in a lower response rate.  The skill of the interviewer and level of interest in the topic will help determine whether the respondent will agree to complete the survey or not. 

Written Surveys

Written surveys can be successful when researchers have an effective mode of distribution that gets the surveys into the hands of an interested audience. Just like online surveys, written surveys must be thoughtfully designed to encourage a satisfactory response rate.

Written surveys are often used to obtain information about more sensitive topics. A benefit of written surveys is that they can be completed at a time convenient for the respondent, which may be more suitable if you are researching a sensitive topic.

Conversely, without anyone encouraging the completion of the survey, the response rate of mail-in surveys are lower than that of telephone or online surveys. Many business owners will hire a company to conduct their written survey to ensure they get a large enough sample size. 

Online Surveys

With the innovation of reliable online survey platforms, online surveys are now the most commonly used type of consumer research surveys. Online surveys can be distributed in a variety of ways, including via website, email, social media, or in-app. 

The benefits of online surveys are numerous. This type of survey can be:

  • Distributed to a wide audience in every part of the world.
  • Designed with skip-logic to route respondents to relevant questions only based on their previous answers.
  • Customized with user-friendly UX elements such as graphics, larger text, and call-outs to generate higher response rates.
  • Deployed by the business owner via the online survey platform without needing to engage a third party.

The results of an online survey are viewed in a specialized dashboard, making it easy to review, filter, and download survey data. A potent online survey platform will also grant you the capability of viewing the data in various formats, such as through graphs, charts, and cross-tabs. Online surveys are cost-effective, so you can conduct several surveys as part of your broader consumer research project. 

Wrapping Things Up on Consumer Surveys

Consumer surveys are incredibly useful tools for conducting market research. Most importantly, these surveys give you firsthand insight into customer experience, a critical business aspect that can make or break your brand. 

In fact, 84% of customers feel that their customer experience is just as important as a company’s products and services. Measuring customer experience goes hand in hand with measuring customer satisfaction, another key aspect of the business. 

Since you will likely need to deploy a variety of surveys, consider using a professional survey platform that will make it easier to review a large volume of data over time. In addition, survey platforms like Pollfish can help you get your survey in front of the right audience, ensuring that your data analysis will accurately shape the future of your business.  

Frequently asked questions

What is a consumer survey?

A consumer survey is a type of survey used in consumer research to understand consumer interest in a new product, feature, or service, or to understand consumer satisfaction with an existing product, feature, or service.

What is the complete enumeration method?

Complete enumeration is a method in which a survey is distributed to nearly every customer of a product or service. Complete enumeration eliminates sampling bias since an entire population participates in the survey.

What is the sample survey method?

The sample survey method involves distributing a survey to a smaller portion of the population, with the aim of accurately representing the overall population. Care must be taken to avoid sampling bias in order to ensure accurate results.

What is a telephone survey?

A telephone survey is one in which participants answer survey questions via phone. This type of survey was more popular before the widespread use of online surveys.

What are some benefits of an online survey?

Online surveys are easy to distribute to the target audience, regardless of geographic location, can provide a better response rate, and can yield more interesting results through the use of skip-logic to send respondents to more relevant questions.