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Survey Says What? Using Survey Data to Make Key Business Decisions

Emily Swinkels
Digital Strategist

According to David Letterman, “USA Today has come out with a new survey. Apparently three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.”1

Clearly, without surveys, the world would be lacking in a lot of useful statistics like this one…

…but – seriously – surveys have proven themselves to be incredibly useful for finding real answers to companies’ most pressing business questions. For example, Yamaha Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments, used a customer survey 2 when developing a new keyboard to determine whether real users preferred knobs or sliding faders. Understanding this key insight allowed Yamaha to create the Montage keyboard, which then became the #1 best-seller in the industry.

Surveys made simple

From SurveyMonkey to Google Forms to Qualtrics to countless other survey tools, you’ve got tons of options to help you design, distribute, and gather insights from your own customer surveys. So once you pick one that works for you, what’s next?
The key to great insights: write the best possible survey to gather the best possible data from your group of respondents. If your survey is too long, too boring, or too much work, respondents won’t complete it—and you won’t get the answers you’re looking for.

Here’s how to make your surveys rock


Focus on one major objective

Be sure your questions are relevant and specific to your business objective.


Keep it short

More questions aren’t necessarily better. Respondents will give higher quality data when answering your survey doesn’t tire them out.


Reduce bias

Make sure your questions don’t lead respondents to answer a certain way. Make sure your answer options are inclusive.


Consider your data first

Which question type you use can affect your analysis. For example, a multiple choice or ranking-type question may give you better data than using a fill-in-the-blank question. On the other hand, open-ended questions may give you unexpected insights.


Test! Test! Test!

Once you think your survey is dialed, try it out. Take the survey yourself. Test-send it to your coworkers. Send it to your mom. Once you’ve gotten a few test responses, you can determine if the survey is giving you everything you’re looking for. After making adjustments, you’re ready to go.


Now what?

Send your survey out. Gather responses. Analyze your data. And get excited for your answers: They’ll lead to key business insights directly from your customers themselves!

Emily Swinkels
Emily Swinkels, Digital Strategist at eROI.