Diving into the Consumer Survey

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 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.


Mastering the Different Types of Consumer Surveys

Mastering the Different Types of Consumer Surveys

Consumer surveys are critical tools for sharpening your market research efforts, but they go far beyond that. They also help inform your advertising, marketing, product and sales strategies — they’re that powerful.

However, choosing the right survey for your needs may prove to be difficult, as there aren’t merely many different insights your brand may target, but there are also so many survey types to choose from.

We’ve covered the three main types of survey research methods. These methods are mainly centered on the frequency of survey distribution, while some of them include thematically-oriented sub-types.

Luckily for researchers, marketers and business owners, there is a multitude of survey types and subtypes. Some of these survey types fall within the aforesaid three main survey research methods, while others can be categorized as methods of quantitative or qualitative research.

Let’s get familiar with the various types of surveys for consumer research and other avenues of research.

Brand Awareness Surveys

This type of survey is generally the first you should consider conducting before you undertake any other survey types about your customers.

It is most ideal to run a brand awareness survey when you’re well-acquainted with your target market. However, you can conduct this survey even before you’re fully aware of who makes up your target market.

That is because you want to ascertain who knows about your brand; sometimes this can be consumers who narrowly fit within your target audience and sometimes this can be those who are not potential customers.

The latter is important in that although those consumers may not be interested in your brand, they may pass it along to someone who is, since they know about it.

Band awareness, nonetheless, is so much more than whether customers know about your brand. It includes:

  • Awareness of what your brand stands for
  • What the company is trying to achieve (beyond just selling something)
  • The meaning behind your company name or logo
  • How you differ from your competitors

As such, this survey type doesn’t merely measure, as it largely seeks to market your brand and everything it has to offer (including style and experiences).

Here are a few considerations to concentrate on for your brand awareness survey:

  1. Understanding whether your consumers acknowledge your company when they see it.
  2. Gauging how well your target market can recall your business by way of memory.
  3. Discovering how loyal your customers are loyal to your brand, especially in times of crisis.
  4. Ascertaining what customers associate with your brand.
  5. Bringing to light opinions on your logo and branding components.

When you’re in the midst of a marketing campaign and would like to work out how consumers are reacting to it, you can do so with this kind of survey. Here’s precisely what it can help you:

  • Identify which strategies and investments are most effective and which are under-performing.
  • Confirm if the opinions of your business are in accordance with how you intend on positioning your brand.
  • Pinpoint sentiments and associations about your brand that can help uncover more business opportunities.
  • See how your offering or experiences can improve.

Here are some useful questions to ask in brand awareness surveys:

  1. When you think of this product, what brand comes to mind?
  2. Which of the following have you tried? (Multiple selections)
  3. When was the last time you used this product category?
  4. How many of the brands have you heard of? (Select all that apply)
  5. When you think of this product, what brand comes to mind?

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The most commonly used types of surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, like their name implies, gauge customer satisfaction.

Businesses can use these surveys to measure how content their customers are about a number of their experiences. These experiences include a business’s:

  • Product
  • Service
  • Online shopping
  • UX
  • Events

Since the participants’ responses are direct ratings of a range of offerings, businesses can make educated decisions on how to change their offerings or their overall CX. The responses can also show businesses which aspects of their business are profitable, so the businesses can, in turn, double down on those.

Customer satisfaction surveys are generally short and rely on several visual measurement tools as ratings. These include:

  • Stars and other shapes to determine how good or bad an experience was
  • Numbered scales
  • Color-coded scales

Like other surveys, customer satisfaction surveys rely on questionnaires (if the above units weren’t adequate for research).

Understanding how pleased your customers are is crucial for innovating your product, service and customer experience (CX). It can also determine the following:

  1. Whether or not a consumer intends to buy from you and is loyal to your business.
  2. Negative feelings towards your product, service, employees or experience.
  3. Knowing and making sure that customers are satisfied will reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value.
  4. Efforts to retain happy customers.
  5. Who to ask for (ex on social media) for good public reviews or testimonials.

Here are some examples of customer satisfaction questions to use in the questionnaire portion of your consumer survey:

  1. How would you rate your shopping/web/service experience?
  2. How likely are you to buy from this brand or this type of brand again?
  3. Was your issue resolved today?
  4. Did you find what you were looking for?
  5. How do you generally feel about the service of [insert industry or specific brand]?
  6. How would you rate the quality of [product, service, customer service representative experience]?
  7. Did you have an overall positive or negative experience with [the service, company, etc]?

Event Evaluation Surveys

This type of survey relies on gaining a more specific understanding of a customer experience, which, in this case, is an event. This survey type is essential to use if your business hosts events, whether they’re grand-openings, marketing events, webinars, etc.

These surveys are also crucial to understanding your target market, even if you don’t host or take part in any events. This is because your customers’ opinions towards certain events can help you tweak your offering or your messaging more to their liking.

It can also allow you to see how your customer base spends their time and money, which is critical to market research.

Here are a few pointers on how to improve your event and business in general via event evaluation surveys:

  1. Ensure your survey captures honest and in-the-moment perceptions from the attendees.
  2. Keep these surveys short, as many people won’t want to answer a survey after participating in an event.
  3. Find a way to tie the event with your product or service.
  4. Put your customers’ needs in the questions.
  5. Allow customers to discover your brand if you didn’t host/take part in the event.

As for the specific questions to ask in an event evaluation survey, we’re narrowed down a few effective ones:

  1. What motivated you to come to this event?
  2. What were your favorite aspects of the event?
  3. What were your least favorite aspects of the event?
  4. How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend or colleague?
  5. Did the event answer your questions and concerns? (can be open-ended)
  6. What did you think of the [products/services] in the event?
  7. Will you consider checking out [brands in the event or a similar brand not in the event]?

Lead Generation Surveys

The purpose of these surveys falls more within the confines of gathering contact information from your target market. They can also help reveal the types of people who make up your target market, as they deal with questions about your consumers’ job roles and preferences.

This survey method is a great way to both learn and reel in potential customers. As such, this type of survey should be used early on in your research. But it is not meant to be rigidly conducted at this point.

You can use it throughout your marketing and market research campaigns to build up a list of quality prospects.

Since the object behind lead generation surveys is to gain leads via their contact info, there are a few things to take into consideration.

  • Use only a few form fields, as too many tend to be unfavorable among users, especially if they are C-level executives who deal with their company’s finances.
  • The most important fields are names, job roles and email addresses, especially in the case of B2B businesses.
  • An opt-in button to get their permission to be contacted through their email address.
  • Questions that ask for their preferences within your industry about your offering
  • Interactive content (GIFs, quizzes, etc.) to set your brand apart.

As for the questions, remember to ask questions that will help your brand determine whether the prospect is an MQL. The following lists a few question examples for lead generation surveys:

  1. What is your role in the company?
  2. Are you in charge of your team’s budget?
  3. How do you intend on growing your business?[or gaining customers, questions that deal with growth/scaling]
  4. Would you consider buying this [ex: software]  to improve your revenue and overall business goals?
  5. How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends?

Job Satisfaction Survey

This type is an example of a survey delving into a specific topic or theme to better understand your personas and user base. Since employment is a major factor in the quality of life, it is wise to pick your consumers’ brains on this topic.

In fact, 51% of American workers have reported that they get a sense of identity from their jobs. Since jobs define who the public is, or at least a large percentage of it, your business can stand to create surveys centered on job satisfaction.

After all, participants more satisfied with their line of work and income are more likely to spend.

A job satisfaction survey is similar to an employee satisfaction survey, but offers a much more intimate view. That is because the latter deals with all members of an organization, whereas the former deals with the personal outlook of an employee to measure their satisfaction.

Here are a few questions designed for this survey type:

  1. What does your job represent to you personally? (Answers can include: just a way to earn money, a way to be involved in something important, a way to better myself, etc.)
  2. How would you rate your satisfaction with the work you do? (Can use a scale)
  3. How meaningful is your job to you? (Can include a scale)
  4. Do you feel empowered to make purchases?
  5. If yes, on what kinds of items? (Answers can include media, travel tickets, products in your niche)

Choosing the Proper Type of Survey

While the above lists several fundamental survey types for your market research campaigns, these are just a drop in the bucket, in terms of quantity. There are various other survey methods, both based on survey research methods and on specific topics.

The true value in surveys comes from their ability to give you full control of the questions, thereby the topics for your consumers to answer. That’s why, before you settle on the types of surveys to use, you should first find a practical and user-friendly survey tool.

This way, you can be sure that you’re gaining the maximum satisfaction in your survey process. Once you find an exceptional survey solution, you can comb through the different survey types and choose the best one for your business.

Frequently asked questions

What is a consumer survey?

A consumer survey is a research method used to understand how satisfied consumers are with products, features, or services. It can also be used to understand how consumers feel about potential or new products and services. There are several different types of consumer surveys, including brand awareness surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, and job satisfaction surveys.

What is a brand awareness survey?

A brand awareness survey is used to understand how familiar your target market is with your brand. It can be conducted with existing customers or with a larger population to understand how you compare to other brands.

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

A customer satisfaction survey measures how satisfied existing customers are with your products or services. They tend to be short surveys that are deployed at a certain point in time, such as after making a purchase.

What type of events can benefit from an event satisfaction survey?

Any type of event that people attend, whether in-person or virtually, can benefit from the use of an event satisfaction survey. They are often used to understand satisfaction with conferences, marketing events, and webinars.

What is a job satisfaction survey?

A job satisfaction survey seeks to measure how satisfied employees are with their job. It can help a company improve many operational aspects, including retention rates, hiring processes, profitability, and management style.