Have you noticed the amount of information retailers want from customers at the point of sale – seemingly information that has little to do with the product being purchased? When you buy a new pair of slacks from a department store, the clerk might ask you for your phone number or at least your mailing zip code.

After purchasing groceries, you might be prompted to call a phone number and complete a survey. Businesses want this identifying data for consumers so that they can build customer profiles, reveal buying trends, and get more information on what the most profitable demographics are.

This all points to the importance of correlation. There is a connection between product purchases and price points, and it has less to do with salary than most novice businesses think. If you desire better insight into what buying trends your customers usually follow, you must learn more about the principles of correlation.

When and Where to Present a Customer Survey

A customer shouldn’t be overly long or suss out what could be deemed to be sensitive information. As an aside, your company should make customers aware that surveys are for internal use only and won’t be shared with third parties. So, you could ask customers to participate in a quick survey right after a purchase has been made, but that might annoy shoppers who have time constraints.

Your business might also offer to send a customer survey direct to their email address, with the customer’s permission, of course. Customer surveys that start off as phone solicitations are probably the most effective means businesses have of getting useful information. In short, always ask the customer if he or she is open to providing feedback in the form of a survey at later, convenient time.

Adding Bait to Make the Survey More Appealing

Really and truly, asking a consumer to fill out a customer survey is pretty much asking for a favor. While your company might appreciate all feedback received, from the perspective of the buyer, completing a survey is a bit of a hassle – unless an incentive is offered. The ‘bait’ that you attach to your customer survey doesn’t have to amount to very much.

A 15% coupon off the shopper’s next purchase of $100 or more can be enticing enough to get hundreds of consumers providing feedback. Completed customer surveys can also reward customers with free gifts, access to exclusive sales, or similar sales devices that cause businesses to incur few costs.

Asking the Right Customer Survey Questions

It has been established that you can persuade consumers to complete customer surveys, but the best questions your company can conjure up are critical. Remember, the number of questions listed on each survey must be limited. This is not an opportunity where you can ask 100 detailed questions. Instead, gleaning information about preferences, buying habits, budgets, age, and gender can help businesses get the information they need to streamline their marketing strategies. When you can, create questions that request specific information instead of generalities. This is why asking the buyer for their zip code or their date of birth is especially valuable.

Simple Way to Analyze Customer Surveys

So, your business has had 1,000 buying customers complete surveys and all of this data has been formulated into a spreadsheet. Now what? You should use correlation to help reveal which of your products and services are the most popular with buyers in general. If your customer survey came at the point of sale, you can look up what each shopper bought to gain this information.

Second, you should be able to see plainly who frequents your business. Is it Millennials or baby boomers? Are you surprised to learn that your products are targeted toward women, but your buyers are overwhelmingly male? The surveys should be structured so that a series of ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or multiple-choice questions were completed, so the data analyzation portion of the process doesn’t have to consume lots of time.

Applying the Information Your Business Has Learned

Now you have loads of data that reveals telling information about your most frequent shoppers. Do you immediately start a new advertising campaign that caters to the shoppers you already do business with, or do you use the information you learned to reel in different kinds of consumers? If you use correlation, you will know which option offers the best profit potential. See how many customers used the coupon you offered in return for completing a customer survey.

Did they buy more products and services on average? Have they been back to your establishment more frequently as a result of your interaction? Follow-up all customer surveys with an email or a postcard expressing your business’s gratitude and see where things take your company.

Updating Customer Buying Trends Information

If your company has completed one round of customer surveys, note that the same process will have to be done again. It could be in six months after the start of a new school year or in two years once there’s been a big shift in the market. In the event that your business appeals to college-aged students, you might have to do another round of surveying in the fall of every year. Try reaching out to customers who have already taken surveys in the past, but also get a decent amount of data from newer consumers. You want all data concerning buying trends that you have in your possession to be fresh and relevant.

In a nutshell, companies have to interact with consumers beyond providing them with good customer service, to find out how they tick. No matter what your company sells, you have competitors that your shoppers could go to. Find out why they stick with your brand and then leverage that information to keep sharp. Buying trends change frequently, and if you find the correlation between what your buyers are doing between purchases, you will see an increase in gross profits, sales, and exposure among all demographics.

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