The modern age has dubbed itself, and not without some justice and insight, the information age. The reason for this is twofold: information is communicated in greater variety, with greater alacrity and precision, than ever before. Secondly, information has become one of the most precious resources of any business or individual. The Internet has become the greatest information sharing tool in history, and has so far proven to have nearly limitless potential and myriad uses. Businesses of every kind have refocused their strategies around the internet including: information protection, information gathering, and information analysis. Those that haven't done so have disappeared. The customer survey is one of the countless illustrations of the emerging preeminence of information in business.
Actually, surveys have gained widespread use in many fields, not the least of which is the social sciences, particularly, but not exclusively, psychology. In business, the questionnaire is used to assess products for quality control. They are also used among focus groups to test the efficacy of marketing advertisements. In fact, they are used in various ways by many different departments of business.
Statistics and data are, of course, analyzed by businesspeople to assess their strategies. Just about every piece of datum available is used (one thinks of the Sioux Indians and their buffalo). In almost every respect, hard statistical data is firmer and more reliable than most simple surveys. Why? These data are based on actions, not words. People tend to more carefully weigh their actions than their speech. Data include compiled actions such as how many products are purchased, how much is paid for them, when customers are retained, lost, and gained. Figures, graphs, and charts of these data help businesses figure out their next move and chart a course into the next quarter.
If hard data is more reliable than surveys, why are the latter used at all? The answer is that the traditional questionnaire can make fine assessments with needle sharp precision and complexity. Data is available only in areas that pertain to actions. Customer surveys fill in the "why" behind the actions. What is it about our product that causes people to buy it? What is it that pushes them to reject it in favor of a competitor? These questions are the full time occupation of countless devoted business analysts, pundits, marketers, engineers, etc.
Because information about patrons' feelings regarding products is so valuable, there are third party businesses whose only job is to develop and administer to them the customer satisfaction survey. Crafting and employing it is a fine art and a rigorous science. There are many parameters and factors involved in even the simplest ones. Clientele need to be encouraged to answer each question thoughtfully and candidly. A relatively small percentage of hasty, careless, or joking replies can disastrously skew results. If 5% are dissatisfied with a particular aspect of a product, then a mere 5% of users jokingly reporting the same will double the negative result.
Due to skewed results, most companies opt to hire the third party companies so they might have better equipped professionals analyzing the data. Experts are able to manufacture the questionnaire to avoid joking replies as much as possible, even though they cannot be completely avoided. Researching and analyzing the data after the results are compiled is how a business will truly utilize third party servicers.
A customer survey is used to gather many types of information; therefore they are designed in different ways to meet these various needs. Determining a company's survey campaign can take weeks or even months to figure out. These things should not be entered into lightly, and that's why most choose third party companies. In this information age you can call upon experts and gain more knowledge just through the use of the internet.
NBRI, for over two decades, has been providing valuable customer survey support for businesses interested in discovering their customer's feedback. For more information please take the time to visit NBRII.com.