One more Google Freebie!

So if you read through my earlier blog posts in my Google Tools series, you learned great ways to create a new email account, add website analytics, find and fix website errors, create and embed video, and monitor your brand on the internet. I’ve decided to add one more tool, Google Docs.

Last week, I helped with a FastTrac class in Fayette, Iowa. I was there to present and lead a discussion on marketing and market research strategies. One topic that came up was how to evaluate your current customers to understand what they like about your business and to determine where you may need to improve operations. One such way to do this is through e-mail surveys. There are plenty of tools which can help you create and gather feedback via surveys for free, like SurveyMonkey, however did you know you can create your own custom survey form via Google Docs?

This is a great feature that I only recently discovered, so I thought I would blog about it so that if you’re not already running surveys of your clients- you can begin!

In order to get started, you’ll need to go to the Google Docs homepage. Click on the ‘Create New’ button located below the Google logo, and select ‘Form’. From here, you’ll want to fill out the title and short description field to be displayed at the top of your survey. The title is prefilled with the text ‘Untitled form’. You might choose to rename this to ‘Your Business Name – Customer Satisfaction Survey’. In the description be sure to explain why you’re asking your customers to fill out this information and include your direct contact information if they have any questions. It’s wise to also include a disclaimer so you’re your customers know you won’t share the information they give to you with others and use the information only to improve your internal business operations and overall customer service.

Once you have your basic title and description filled out, you can begin to add questions for your customers to answer. You can also designate ‘required questions,’ meaning customers will not be able to submit the form without answering that question. Here are some topics to think about while creating your survey:

  • What is the reputation of our company in our customers’ opinion?
  • What do our customers think about our prices?
  • What do our customers think about our staff (courteous, knowledgeable, responsive)?
  • How do our customers hear about our business?
  • Why do customers come to our business?
  • Were customers happy with their shopping experience at our store (if not, why)?
  • What age, sex, income are common to our customers?
  • What interests, hobbies, or other psychographic traits do our customers share?
  • Do most of our customers live near our store or in any similar geographic area to each other?
  • Do new customers answer any of our survey questions differently from our repeat customers?

Be sure to design your customer survey to give you specific, actionable feedback. For instance, if you’re running any specific marketing campaigns, you’ll want to include options that will tell you the effectiveness of those advertising platforms (e.g. radio and/or television ad, billboard, Facebook ad, newspaper ad, etc).

There are many, many things to consider when designing a good survey; here is an excellent whitepaper over how to design effective customer satisfaction surveys to review before diving in to implement your own. I’ll save good survey design for another blog post :).

Do you use surveys to collect customer feedback and improve your business operations? Have you found collecting customer satisfaction information helpful to improving your business?

Here are links to the other posts in this series:

Rob Williams is a Business Analyst for the University of Northern Iowa

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