5 things to keep in mind when using survey to aid your business strategy adjustment
Updated: May 26, 2020
"Change" is one of the best ways to describe today's business environment. Everything changes besides "change" itself. As a business you can change or be changed.
Under the constant changing environment, business needs to adjust its strategies to remain competitive on the market. To make sure the products and services provided by your company are still a fit to the market. If you agree with me, then the next question will be change to what? Where do I start?
To make changes or adjustment to your business. You first need to understand where you are at? and where do you want to go to. In other words what's your goal and how far away you are from your goals. There are many ways to help you get a sense of direction. You can go to your sales figure, operation performance data, or conduct a survey.
Today, I'm going to share about how I helped the company utilized surveys to help us get a sense of where we want to be at. How I went about and design our surveys in a way that enabled us to draw a logical conclusion at the end of the day.
Know who your target audience are and why?
First, pick your target audience carefully. Who do you want to respond to your surveys? More, importantly know why you have selected these audiences. You must have a goal in mind. What do you want to get out from these audiences? What purpose are they going to serve in the process to help you make a better decision when it comes to your company strategy? For example, I decided to breakdown the target audience into 3 groups. Our worldwide agents, customers and our social media fans. Our worldwide agents are the company's local representative in the local regions. It is important to get their feedback as they know the local market the best. Another reasons for selecting the local agents is to get them feel involved in the decision-making process. I want them to feel a part of it, therefore a sense of responsibility in helping the company grow. When selecting our customers to conduct the survey, I carefully picked out customers from different segments, and customers at different business magnitudes to observe if there is a correlation between the different groups. We currently have around 950 fans from the public. This group of people will serve as a reference in our survey. Even though their importance level is much lower when compared to our customers and agents survey group, the main intention of involving our fans is to create a fun interaction.
Decide on the main categories of your survey
Now that you have decided on your target audiences for the survey the next step is to decide on the main categories for your survey. Different target audience group can have different question categories. In our case I decided to distribute the same question category to our agent group and customer group. For our fan group, I selected two of the most important questions from the agent and customer group survey as a simplified version. The survey that I designed had the categories including
1. What trends are you observing in the industry, how do they impact you (select the top 2)
2. What is your current pain point (select the top 2)
3. What product line / product spec do see the most potential down the road (rank it)
4. What image do you want to create for your customers (select the top 2)
5. Other recommendation for the company
Confine the choices for your audience, have your audience rank it, not everything is equally important
The next step is to confine the choices. In my opinion I think this is the most successful and important step that we took in driving our success. From above question 1 to 4 are provided with options, only question 5 is an open ended question. Having a confined choice is very important. At the end of the day you want to be able to draw conclusions from your feedback. Providing open ended question is most likely to result in feedback that are scattered all over. Furthermore, not only to provide a confined choices, but have your audience rank them. Not everything is equally important. There is unlimited wants and limited resources. Therefore, it is very important to prioritize.
Data Analysis, and provide feedback to your target audience
Perform your data analysis and draw conclusions. During the process not every respondent needs to be weighted the same. Some audience can have more weighting than others. To discuss as a group if the conclusion make sense, and if this is the direction that the company wants to steer towards to. Thank your survey audiences and provide them with feedback, so that they know exactly why the survey was conducted and how was the survey utilized. I want to make sure that they do not feel like they have wasted their time in conducting the survey. I want to make them feel that it is worth their contribution and efforts.
By mentioning this step may seem redundant to many. But guess what, this is where most businesses fail. Business can carry out step 1 to 4 successfully. However, if it is not followed through with a clearly defined execution strategy, nothing will happen. This may be the most important step of all, without execution, all your previous steps goes to waste. After defining the business strategy adjustment that you are going to make, define the execution plan for each. Your execution plan needs to include, the responsible person, the product milestone to make sure the plan will be carried out.