Are you using an online survey creator to collect customer data and improve your brand?

Collecting data in this manner is easy and cost-effective, and helps you understand why your customers make the choices they do. Data also helps you measure brand awareness between you and your competitors.

If your company isn’t using surveys to collect data, you’re losing valuable information about your customers. Worse, your competitors could gather the information you’re missing and use it to improve their businesses.

To better understand how businesses use surveys, we sent out one of our own. Our questions dove into the reasons why a company does or doesn’t collect data through questionnaires. We also wanted to know how they used the information they did collect.

We’re breaking down our findings to help you comprehend how other business leaders think surveys can drive business growth.

Who took the survey?

Successful surveys use screening questions to help identify the right respondents and keep your results reliable and relevant. Filtering out responses from people who don’t meet the criteria helps maintain the accuracy of your data.

During our survey of business professionals, we asked:

  • Do you work full-time?
  • How much money is your company bringing in annually?

The first question was a simple yes or no multiple-choice question. All respondents stated that they work full-time.

The second question offers three answer choices of revenue range:

  • Under $300,000,
  • $300,000 to $1,000,000
  • Over $1,000,000

All respondents work for companies bringing in over $300,000 a year, with 70% of them working for companies that make over $1,000,000 annually. This leaves 30% of participants at companies with annual revenue between $300,000 and $1,000,000.

Key findings

We found that many companies believe gathering data to help solve problems is a valuable task. Additionally, a large portion of respondents are very likely or extremely likely to suggest using surveys to collect information.

Other notable findings from our study include:

  • 43% of participants say their company plans to use customer data in the future.
  • The most common limitation of surveys is the validity and reliability of results.
  • Companies use numerous methods to process and analyze results.

These results suggest companies want to use data to solve problems, but need reassuring of the value of surveys in research. Responses also indicate companies require multiple analytic tools for processing data.

Reasons for not collecting data

Many businesses acknowledge that they want to use data to help them make decisions, but not all of them do so. Our study asked why.

Just over 58% of survey takers explained that they don’t collect customer information because they’re not in charge at their companies and thus can’t issue the order to do so. The people we asked are full-time workers, so it makes sense that not everyone has the authority to conduct studies. Another group of respondents said they don’t collect data because the company doesn’t use it. Companies in both of these groups are missing out on the benefits of surveying customers.

Other participant responses highlight a lack of time – they simply don’t have the resources to put together, distribute, and analyze a comprehensive study.

Companies are often unaware that it’s possible to automate data collection, which eliminates the concern about how much time employees spend managing their surveys. Many online survey platforms, including QuestionPro, allow you to schedule regular surveys to your mailing list. Scheduling surveys help you continuously collect data without setting up a new study each time.

You’ll also save time using survey templates from QuestionPro. No coding skills are necessary; instead, you can use templates to create questionnaires for your next market research, customer satisfaction, or employee engagement project. Adding custom elements like your company logo and brand colors gives you a visually appealing questionnaire in minutes.

Would participants suggest using surveys to their teams?

The largest individual section of our participants – 34.8% – say they are somewhat likely to suggest using surveys to their internal teams. However, over 45% of respondents stated they are very likely or extremely likely to propose collecting data through surveys. Only 10.2% of users are not at all likely to recommend surveys to their team members.

Using customer data

We asked why respondents’ companies aren’t using customer data to improve their businesses. While 43% of respondents plan to use customer data in the future, over 16% don’t use it because they’re not aware of how to use it for the company’s benefit. An additional 15.6% of survey takers say they don’t have the proper tools to collect and analyze the data. The remaining respondents explain their customer data isn’t available, is lost, or didn’t answer the question.

If your company is unsure of how to collect or use data, an online survey platform is a great way to start. They give you access to the tools you need to gather customer feedback through channels like email, text messages, and social media, and provide tools to help you analyze the information you collect.

Survey use

The largest number of respondents from the companies that use surveys indicate their company is looking to follow up with customers. Customer satisfaction surveys help businesses monitor the customer experience. The second-largest reason respondents use surveys is to track the performance of products and services, allowing them to identify strengths and weaknesses and make improvements. Respondents also indicate that they survey customers for reactions to new product ideas or features.

Other companies use surveys to collect data for market and competition analysis. For example, the smallest group of respondents use this method to see what customers think of their competitors. A larger group depends on them for market analysis and spotting trends early.

Demographics and identifying customer groups make up a smaller section of respondents’ survey use.

Cost and value of data

Half of our survey respondents say they consider it extremely valuable to collect data for problem-solving. Just over 13% of participants disagree; they believe gathering information is not particularly useful. The remaining 37% of individuals taking the survey feel data collection is somewhat necessary for solving problems.

These responses indicate that many businesses see the value of surveying consumers. Asking customers for their opinions allows you to directly identify problems with products, services, or customer experience. These insights are vital to solving customer problems without wasting time and resources guessing what needs improvement.

While most respondents agree data collection is extremely valuable, nearly 45% put a cap on what they would pay for it – between $1,000 and $5,000. This suggests many businesses want a low-cost or free research survey choice that makes it affordable and easy to gather data.

Interestingly, a sizeable 14.5% of respondents say they would pay over $25,000 to conduct surveys.

Conducting research

The majority of respondents stated that if they opted to collect data through surveys, they would take responsibility for planning and running them. On the other hand, almost 40% would hire an agency to create and run a customer research study.

Although a large portion of respondents plans to outsource managing surveys, only 1.6% believe surveys are challenging to implement. Over 46% of participants feel that implementing a survey is somewhat easy or very easy. Their reluctance to manage surveys themselves likely comes down to time. In that case, hiring an agency to take care of implementing and analyzing surveys frees up employees to focus on their usual tasks. However, using an agency could also prove to be more expensive than running surveys using an online platform.

Analyzing survey results

We learned that companies have a wide range of analytical needs. The biggest portion of respondents analyzes surveys using individual metrics, such as demographics or sources of traffic. The next largest analytical need is the ability to measure changes in customer responses over time.

Although measuring specific attributes and following changes in trends over time are the most significant needs, participants also indicate the use of spreadsheet software to help quantify survey results into visual reports like graphs.

This suggests many businesses look for survey software with lots of tools for creating, sharing, and analyzing data through reports.

Limits of survey research

According to our respondents, the most substantial limitation attached to surveys is ensuring the validity and reliability of the answers. If you send one out, you want to know you’re receiving honest and accurate responses.

In addition to gathering reliable data, our participants fear that surveys could oversimplify social reality. This leads customers to answer surveys in a way that doesn’t match their real-world actions. For example, you ask your customers if price or computing power is more important in a laptop. The majority state that power is more important, but when actually making the purchase, they’ll buy the cheapest option. Avoid this limitation by conducting multiple, varied research on different sections of your customer base.

Businesses can increase the reliability of their results using an online survey platform like QuestionPro. We provide qualified survey respondents through our Audience feature. This gives you access to a global database of pre-screened respondents, and we continuously update our recruitment process so you always have access to reliable responses for your research.

Survey design

You must consider all aspects of survey design when creating a questionnaire. When deciding what makes a great survey, nearly 42% of our respondents say that all parts of design, flow, language, and length are equally important.

Where do respondents take surveys?

Part of excellent survey design includes picking out the right platform. Of our participants, over 72% most often provide answers from a laptop or desktop computer. Email and web surveys are most compatible with computers. However, 18% of respondents indicate they answer questions on mobile devices like cellphones and tablets. In our mobile-dominated world, your research questionnaires must be mobile-friendly to capture the highest number of responses.

How do respondents decide on survey questions?

The right survey questions keep participants’ attention and allow you to collect accurate data. It’s imperative to ask for information in a way that is interesting and easy to understand.

Of our participants, 30.5% establish their main objective and target audience to write appropriate questions, while nearly 24% focus on research goals. Both of these processes allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your research: why you’re conducting it, and the customers you want to reach.

Another method about 14% of our participants use is breaking down complex ideas. For example, you want to avoid difficult questions like double-barreled request, which asks for two opinions at once. They’re confusing and lead to inaccurate answers. If you have two questions, ask them separately and cut down on any potential misunderstandings.

How many questions are ideal?

Our respondents agree: keep surveys short and simple. Nearly 75% of participants say they prefer surveys with 20 questions or less. Just under 30% of users think the sweet spot is between 16-20. Another 24% of respondents want to answer no more than 10.

Only 3.9% of our respondents believe you should use more than 30 questions in a single questionnaire.

These results show the importance of providing a straightforward design. Surveys with too many questions lead to boredom. As users get bored, they stop giving you accurate answers. Some may abandon a questionnaire entirely if it can’t keep their attention.

Consider breaking up your survey into multiple questionnaires if you need to gather complex information. While it’s tempting to include everything you want to ask, you’re more likely to get reliable results from multiple smaller surveys than a long one.

Conclusion

Overall, most participants think using surveys to collect customer data helps businesses better understand customers and solve problems. They want survey software that’s affordable but gives them access to advanced analytical reports.

QuestionPro brings powerful survey creation, distribution, and analysis tools to the table. Take a tour of our online survey software to see how it can streamline research and improve your business today.