Best PracticesCustomer Satisfaction & LoyaltyCustomer Surveys

Market Research Strategies: Summertime Activity for Survey Writers

With the summer season upon us, along comes a most welcomed relief for many market research project managers. The workload slows and creates a great opportunity to take care of some market research housekeeping. For survey writers, one of the best uses of slow time is to spend it creating (or updating) standard survey templates for use year-round.

Without the normal crush of deadlines, market researchers can create templates with these goals in mind:

  1. Set standards.  Use this time to think carefully about how you want to standardize specific question types, along with formatting and scaling options.
  2. Get approvals. Get approval from those colleagues or managers who will be involved in year-round research efforts. Explain you are constructing standard templates and want their input during the slow season—this will help everyone come crunch time.

For those newer to research, you will find that there are three common survey templates that come in handy.  A few examples of question types are included below, but there are many options—so be sure to look at several examples before you craft your templates.

Survey Template #1: Customer Satisfaction Research

A simple satisfaction survey would consist of four or five questions to gauge satisfaction and loyalty. Of course, the type of customer satisfaction and loyalty questions depends on whether you’re selling business-to-business or business-to-consumer, whether you’re selling services or products and so forth. In general, you’re going to want an overall gauge of satisfaction, which commonly uses a five-or seven-point Likert scale question. Add a few follow-up questions about satisfaction relating to the specific aspects of your products or services, as relevant, such as customer service, product’s ease of use, and possibly aesthetics.

As an example of how this might need to be modified for different product categories, let’s consider a snack product company. For this case, satisfaction measures might focus on the variety of flavors offered, response to specific flavors, and package size.

Survey Template #2: Website Feedback

If your organization interacts with customers on its website, it’s good to have a standard template for collecting website feedback. This could be used on either a transaction or a rotation basis (so that customers see it on every 10 or 20 visits), or maybe it’s something you will use once a quarter.

Common questions collect feedback on overall attractiveness, distinctiveness, and ease of use. So answer options might use a scale of “very mundane” to “very exciting”; or maybe a range from “amateurish” to “very professional”; or perhaps, “not at all easy to use” to “very easy to use”.

Other key questions may include:

  • “Were you able to find the information you were looking for on our website?”
  • “How likely are you to visit this web site again in the next 30 days?” (or whatever timeframe would make sense for your particular category).

Survey Template #3: Customer Service Transaction

You may want to have a survey that’s triggered every time someone completes a support call or other type of customer service transaction with your organization. This could be done through a call center, email, or even through a social media interaction such as on a Facebook fan page or via Twitter.

Typical questions ask about:

  • How quickly they got a response, which gives you an objective assessment of whether or not it was timely
  • Their satisfaction with the timeliness of the response
  • Their satisfaction with the quality of the response

Moreover, also use it as an opportunity to make sure that the matter was completed successfully so that you can create a red flag if necessary

Market Research Planning

In my town, the Department of Public Works knows that we’re going to get a lot of snow each winter, and you can be sure that for the couple of months before winter comes, they’re stockpiling salt and sand for the roads. They’re using that relatively slow period before crunch time hits to make sure they’re prepared.

Well, it’s the same thing for survey writing. Let’s take advantage of this slow time to make sure that we have everything we’re going to need before the next crunch time hits &#8212 as it inevitably does.


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Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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2 thoughts on “Market Research Strategies: Summertime Activity for Survey Writers”

  1. Thanks for the post Kathryn! Great ideas to make use of the down time. In the website feedback template, I would also include a question that gets at purpose of visit. This can help organizations not only learn why visitors are coming, but segmenting other answers based on this response can provide great insights into how to generate more traffic and provide useful content. It’s easy way to provide greater return on both survey and website investments.

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