As a research business, a large component of what we do is ‘survey’ work, beginning a conversation and asking questions of a segment within a client base, or working with businesses to understand who their client base is. In many cases businesses don’t have a good idea of the demographics, wants and needs of the people who are spending money with them, in fact they often know less about their clients than they do about their prospects, who haven’t given them a dollar yet.

So here’s a ‘quick guide’ to surveys to get you underway today.

  1. Ask Yourself. As a business can you –

– Talk about your client as if they were one person? Do you know who they are and why they use you? This is of course called a ‘client persona’ and it’s a vital tool in order to have any meaningful dialogue with a large group of people.

– Explain why your clients leave you? Is it understood that your client churn is a result of….? Are you losing the right clients or the wrong ones?

– Explain why your key clients love you? Your cornerstone clients are your security in times of upheaval and to not know why they’re staying, and then using that information to create more cornerstone clients is a lost opportunity.

2. Ask Your Clients. Go to a substantial number of your clients and find out –

– What do they not like about you? This will uncover any underlying frustration and can be used to create raving fans. Importantly, it’s not a question they’ll expect.

– What do they love about your competition? Again, this is an unexpected question and aside from being a valuable tool to gather market intelligence it also demonstrates that you intend on improving your offering, meaning that they have made a wise investment partnering with you.

– What else could you be doing? It’s open mic night and your client has a chance to say what they want, in other words your client base will plan your future offerings for you. Don’t worry about ‘tidy’ numbers here, usually a pattern will quickly emerge and can spill into other questions and exciting opportunities.

A survey must be engaging and interesting for the participants and must be time effective. High quality questions bring high quality answers. Also remember to empty your head of assumptions, you either know something or you don’t and your guesses are a hindering your ability to make business growth a science.

Most importantly, a survey is not an interrogation, it is the beginning of a meaningful dialogue between your clients and your business.

For a free consultation on getting to know your clients better, email