What Surveys can do for a Business

19/03/18

At some point in our lives it’s a safe bet to say that we will have completed a survey of some form. This might have been in our personal lives, or perhaps when in the workplace, and to the uninitiated, these basic question and answer sessions may have seemed like a simple exercise, but there’s much more to them than this.

Every survey will have been planned and thought out to gain useful findings of some form and this is especially relevant in the business world. Read on to find out more about this and learn more about how a business survey works and what they can achieve.

What can these Surveys Involve?

To ‘survey’ is to look closer at something to find more meaning or learnings – and fundamentally this is what business surveys are set out to do. Typically, they’ll involve one party asking a selected or random group of people a number of questions, the answers to which are then collated and examined.

It might be that the survey is a multiple-choice questionnaire which includes closed questions and possibly a selection of answers. These are often the more common types of surveys businesses carry out, as they are the easiest for gathering data.

There can also be market research survey questionnaires that require more detailed explanations for the answers that can be given. These can often also be considered as ‘interviews’ though, particularly if the questions then ask respondents to elaborate on their points.

There are also variations on the above in the form of ‘cross-sectional’ surveys. These are sometimes deliberately targeted over a period of time and will look to see if there are any connections or relationships between two different variables.

There are even longer surveys referred to as ‘longitudinal’ surveys which can last for an extended period and the data they gather can be used to see if there are any changes in this timeframe.

Examples of Surveys Being Used in Business

The different types of surveys about can be utilised both internally and externally by businesses to gather information, for a number of different purposes.

Here are several internal examples:

  • Asking staff for their opinions on processes (what works well, what doesn’t)
  • Finding out what additions teams would like to see in the workplace
  • Getting the opinions of different teams about what could improve the company (employee satisfaction surveys)
  • A simple matter of getting staff to choose a company event or social activity

Here are several external business survey examples, where surveys are primarily used to collect key data:

  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Market surveys aimed at specific demographics which review the quality of a product or service
  • Market research surveys to learn more about customer behaviour, attitudes and preferences
  • Additional research into different sectors and industries to learn more for future business diversification or rebranding

As these can involve members of the public, as well as existing customers, businesses sometimes may incentivise people to answer these market research survey questions. This might be in the form of discounts, competition entries, raffles or free products.

The Advantages of Using Surveys

From the above examples it’s clear to see there are potential advantages and benefits to be found from the information gathered by these surveys.

  • It can highlight strengths and weaknesses in a product or service
  • Market gaps can be identified
  • A business can learn how they could improve their customer services
  • It can provide useful market insights and additional information on consumer preferences
  • It can be a way for businesses to collect contact information (email addresses, addresses, phone numbers) that can be used later for targeted marketing purposes

As well as this though, staff morale can be improved as they can feel valued by a company if they are being asked for their opinion. Plus, they may also feel they are a part of a movement of change that could see their work and personal lives becoming improved by the implementation of any results gained from the surveys they partake in.

Conducting Business Surveys

A final thing to consider is just how easy it can be for a business to look to make the most of the useful results a survey can bring, both internally and externally. There are also plenty of tools available online with templates already set up and ready for companies to use, should they want to carry out a survey of their own.

Image courtesy of iStock

Whilst care has been taken in the production of this article and the information contained within it has been obtained from sources that Aon UK Limited believes to be reliable, Aon UK Limited does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the article or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may rely on it. In any case any recipient shall be entirely responsible for the use to which it puts this article.

This article has been compiled using information available to us up to 20/08/21.

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