How to Get More Value From a Product Survey

Most brands use product surveys at least occasionally to gauge consumer interest and come up with innovative new ways to improve their existing products. But if you want to get the most out of your product surveys, you’ll need to ask the right questions, use the right tools, and measure your data the correct way.

How do you do it?

Reaching the Right People

Everything starts with reaching the right people. If you target the wrong audience or fail to get enough people to respond to your survey, your data will be practically useless.

  • Define your target audience. Start by defining your target audience. If you haven’t already, conduct market research to initially evaluate demand for your product and discover the demographics most likely to benefit from using it. These may change if you conduct a product survey and find a disconnect between your audience and your product; remain flexible during this process.
  • Choose the best sample size. Surveys require an adequate sample size to produce meaningful results. You need enough people to gather statistically significant data – but not so many that you exhaust your resources in the process. This is a difficult balance to strike, so consult with a data analyst to find it.
  • Use multiple mediums. Survey response rates vary by medium; some people find it inconvenient or annoying to participate in certain types of surveys. If you want a better response rate (and ultimately, better results), submit your surveys using multiple mediums, like email, SMS text, and phone calls.
  • Write a compelling subject line or headline. Want people to open your messages? You need a compelling subject line or headline. Otherwise, all your surveys will get deleted before they’re even seen.
  • Offer a reward. Incentivizing participation in your product surveys will help you get your response rates up. Consider offering a discount, a gift card, or an entry in a drawing to maximize participation.

Asking the Right Questions

Next, you’ll need to design your product survey with the right questions.

  • Brainstorm the best product survey questions. Product survey questions can cover a wide range of potential topics, from customer first impressions of the product to long-term plans for product usage. At the same time, you’ll want to keep the survey reasonably short. Sort out the most important questions – the ones most likely to influence your product development in the future – and be sure they make the cut.
  • Get both quantitative and qualitative responses. Design your survey to include both quantitative/numerical responses and qualitative/open-ended responses. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses; for example, quantitative responses are much easier to process and calculate, while open-ended responses can give you more subjective details on customer perceptions.
  • Keep things simple. Most people taking your survey don’t particularly care about your results. If they become annoyed or frustrated, they’ll abandon the survey halfway through or stop thinking about their responses. Accordingly, you should take the survey as simple and easy to fill out as possible.
  • Keep your survey short. In line with this, remember that the average human attention span is notoriously short. Try to keep your survey to 10 minutes or less and include a relatively small selection of questions.

Processing the Results

These additional tips can help you extract more meaningful data from your survey:

  • Ask questions with various phrasings. Sometimes, questions contain biases their writers didn’t intend. If you want to get a more unbiased feel for your customer perceptions, include variations of your survey that contain alternate phrasings of your core questions. It’s also helpful to shake up the order of your questions.
  • Use a professional survey tool to gather responses. There are many survey tools available that make it easy to design, modify, distribute, and collect responses from your surveys. Spend some time evaluating different tools with free trials and choose the platform that best serves your organization’s needs.
  • Chart the numbers in multiple different ways. When evaluating the data, try to look at it from different perspectives. Do average ratings change if you filter out certain audience segments? Is there a specific geographic location that seems to be more enthusiastic about your product? What can you learn from these variations?
  • Track changes over time. One initial product survey isn’t enough to give you long-term data on your product’s performance (or the best course for your business). Be sure to submit multiple surveys so you can track customer attitude changes as they unfold over time.

A product survey is merely the firsts step on a long journey to product development and business development. As you introduce new products and make improvements to your current lineup, be sure to collect customer opinions – and continue to reflexively improve over time. 

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