Survey Types

What is a survey?

A survey is a method of gathering information from individuals. Surveys can be used to collect data from small groups looking to plan a get together and large groups like a population to determine their key characteristics.

According to the Anzlic committee on Surveying & Mapping, the history of surveys dates back to ancient times, in 3000 BC the great kingdom of Egypt used a survey to record land registrations after the Nile river flooded in order to establish farm boundaries. This was around the time of the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Some sources say that prior to this the Babylonians surveyed their citizens in the first known population census. They asked citizens about the members of their household, livestock, and goods.

The modern day survey is believed to have started in the year 1836 in London, when the statistical society of London created the first written questionnaire on record.

The US constitution mandates a census be taken every ten years. Since the founding of the country there have been 23 censuses taken. In 2020 the US completed its first census that allowed participants to respond via the internet.

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce, the leading cloud based CRM platform is the best choice for housing all of your company’s data. In 1999 it was founded as a CRM to help sales teams improve their interactions with prospects and customers. Today it has evolved into the software that drives the backend of over 150,000 businesses around the world. These range from small non-profit organizations to some of the most well known companies in high-tech, manufacturing, financial services, and more.

The power of Salesforce lies in its open APIs and architectural flexibility. It allows organizations to create and relate data to each other in the way they want, that makes most sense for their business needs.

Survey data is no different, Salesforce has the potential to be an incredible place to collect, analyze, and report on survey data.

Who Uses Surveys Today?

Every industry wants to receive feedback from it’s employees, customers, or shareholders. Collecting data and reporting on it in the simplest way possible is essential to any business.

When buying a product or service from a company the customer will often receive a survey asking them if they are satisfied with the product or purchase. Too often these surveys are clunky or difficult to fill out for the participant.

The same goes for employee surveys. Company’s try to gather feedback from their employees for various reasons, end of a quarter, change in corporate structure, and more.

Surveys are also used by marketing to understand the needs and desires of their target audience. Since the 1970s the television industry has conducted the Nielsen survey, which has been a huge source of information that has driven the direction of entertainment.

Let’s take a look at the different types of surveys used today by different industries.

Survey Types

Surveys can be broken down into different categories. Within each category there are different subcategories. In this section we will cover some of these categories and discuss how they are used.

Customer Surveys

This is the most widely used survey type also known as a consumer behavior survey. The best opportunity to gather data about customer satisfaction is right after you interact with them. This could be after buying a product, speaking with a salesperson or customer service representative, or just visiting a store. These surveys are important for determining the quality of the interactions that you are having with those that matter most. Customer surveys can also help determine what will make a potential customer buy the product they are interested in.

Service Feedback Survey

How was our customer service? This is a natural question to receive after interacting with a support team from any organization. It’s important to receive feedback from people who have interacted with support in order to improve services going forward.

Market Surveys

This is a way to determine what your market thinks about a product or service. Often this will be used before launching a new offering. Questions will ask about opinion towards a product or a service and will gauge what is important to the consumer. These are great for creating strategies that will relate to the people you are selling to.

Market research surveys also help to determine where a service, product, or idea will perform the best. The questions in this type of survey will help to identify who the potential customers are and who they are not. It should also give the organization insight into why those potential customers are motivated to buy the product.

Market surveys can also be used to track adoption of a product or service. If the customer already bought a product, how has the journey been since that purchase? Are they using the product as they expected or would it have been better to have more guidance during the adoption period?

Lead Generation Surveys

Sales teams use surveys in a variety of ways. Businesses will often create surveys to qualify their leads before they are passed over to the sales team. A simple survey with a few questions can go a long way to understand if a prospect is right for a discussion with sales. This can save salespeople time by disqualifying leads that are “plastic eggs” and will never “crack.”

Employee Satisfaction Survey

Are your employees happy? Anyone who has worked in an office knows that there are lots of opinions among workers and some will only expose their beliefs if asked to. Others will make themselves heard at every moment they can!

An employee satisfaction survey allows workers to give feedback, good and bad to their workplace. This format is helpful due to its scalability and anonymity, a key ingredient to getting honest responses.

In the field of customer service it is important to survey employees to make sure they are not approaching burnout. How are they allocating their time? Are they providing prospects and customers with solutions that meet their needs? Is there room for improvement?

HR 360 Degree Survey

360 degree surveys were created in the 1950s. This type of survey is used by Human Resources to gather feedback on an employee from a number of sources giving a more well rounded picture of the employees performance. The different sources utilized in this survey can be co-workers, reports, managers, clients, third party contractors, and vendors.

Business Meeting Survey

One of the most tasking parts of being a team member in any organization is the meetings required on a weekly or sometimes daily basis. Although meeting with colleagues, superiors, and clients is important, it is also time consuming. Organizations that value the time of their employees and want to operate more efficiently seek feedback from individuals that take part in these meetings. Questions will ask them about the effectiveness of the meetings they attend and how they affect their overall productivity.

Brand Surveys

These are surveys used to measure your target market’s awareness of your brand. It collects demographic information about the market and combines that with questions that will gauge their understanding of who you are and what you do. This is a great way to understand if your advertising is hitting the mark and educating your audience about your brand.

Exit Interview Survey

Another important opportunity to collect data that can have an impact on the way you run your business. Exit interviews are crucial in making sure that you are doing everything possible to retain employees. When someone decides to leave the company make sure you collect data in a way that can be reported on in the future.

Healthcare Surveys

The healthcare industry requires surveys to better understand the needs of their patients. It gives patients a way to give feedback that is non-invasive and qualitative. This method of gathering data is more private and often lends itself to a higher response rate than is possible between a caregiver and patient.

Public Opinion Survey

This is a way to receive an opinion from a particular population on a specific topic or issue. These are also referred to as a poll. Through answering a series of questions the pollster, the person conducting the poll, can determine what the overall opinion of the group is.

Non-Profit Surveys

Nonprofit organizations are required to operate as efficiently as possible. This is due to their limited resources and tight budgets. It is critical that nonprofit organizations can gauge their donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders’ understanding of their mission statement and the activities that they execute.

Net Promoter Survey (NPS)

This is a very commonly used survey type for market research. It consists of one question that will ask the likelihood someone would recommend a product, company, or service to another person. It categorizes respondents based on their answer into “promoters,” people who give a score of 9 or 10, “passives,” those who respond with a 7 or 8, and “detractors,” those who score 6 or lower.