Surveys are an invaluable tool for researching the community attitudes, employee concerns, product needs, customer loyalty and priorities held by different groups or target audiences. Designing a questionnaire and collecting survey responses from a sample allows us to draw a profile of the group as a whole, and perhaps perform some correlation analysis to understand the source of those feelings. The online survey findings can then support fact-based organizational decisions or improvement projects to help continually improve the organization over time.
Survey research can be applied to many venues. Here are just a few practical applications listed below:
An Internal Employee Survey could identify reasons for low employee retention and provide ideas for reducing those costs, such as a better designed benefit program, improved training opportunities, or problems in the way the organization functions.
A Training Survey can identify how a training program has improved the capabilities of some group and how the training program itself can be improved.
A Product Satisfaction Survey can identify initial customer experiences with a product, providing data to address unforeseen problems and help the next product release.
A Market Research Survey can identify customers needs when creating these new service and product offerings. Surveys can be part of Design for Six Sigma activities.
An Association Survey, which is similar to market research and customer surveys, can show the member benefits most of interest.
However, a survey program is only valuable if it is properly designed and executed. While performing a survey project seems deceptively simple – it's just a bunch of questions, and survey software tools make electronic surveys quick and cheap – a small mistake in the survey questionnaire design or survey administration can skew or bias the data, leading to erroneous conclusions. No organization should ever make critical business decisions based on unreliable or invalid data.
Bad data is worse than no data!