Why Are Customer Surveys Important for Your Startup

Classically, a customer survey is a method to find out the desire or need of a new product/service or to gauge the level of satisfaction of an existing one. The purpose of a survey is to find out the lacuna in an existing products and services Customer Surveyor to explore the market for a new product/service when it is being conceptualized.

Large organizations carry out periodic surveys to keep a tab on the customer’s nerve. Startups on the other hand consciously or unconsciously ignore customer surveys, even though it is absolutely essential that startups lay special emphasis on it during the ideation stage of product lifecycle. 95% of the startups fail in the first 5 years, and a primary reason is firm belief in their startup idea, which leads them to ignore what the customer might want to say.

Here are 5 ways an effective customer survey during the ideation stage can help your startup:

  1. Understanding your product – A good survey can only be designed by those who understand their product well. In case your product is still in ideation stage (and most probably it is since you are reading this article), designing a survey would give “you” useful insights on your product. To create an excellent survey, you need to step outside your own self and ask yourself difficult questions. That’s the start of designing an excellent product. If you haven’t already done so, you should start right away.

  2. A product pitch for customers - A survey provides you an opportunity to stealthily introduce your product to prospective customers. Through a survey, you try to gain acceptance for the perceived USP of your product. Design a survey so that every question gives you an insight on your customer’s mind. Who knows, you might highlight a customer pain point with your questions, which until that point they may not be aware of, and you know your product already has takers. Yes, it happens!!

  3. Avoid costly mistakes – Most investors ask for a customer survey report/market research report. Don’t do a survey just for the sake of fulfilling that requirement. Back in mid-80’s, Coca-Cola stopped selling the original Coke and introduced a new, sweeter version dubbed as “New Coke”. It was done based on a market survey which claimed that the new product is favored by people over both original Coke and Pepsi. Due to a faulty survey design, the company lost millions of dollars and was forced to withdraw the new product and reintroduce the original one. While large organizations can take the hit of a bad survey, startups cannot afford to lose that kind of money. A bad product usually kills a startup.

  4. Develop a customer centric product – Many entrepreneurs fall in love with their product idea. In their love, they sometimes turn into fanatics and ignore the needs of their customers – the very people for whom they are building a product. A well designed survey acts as a mirror showing the true picture. Of course, one has to analyze the survey results correctly to put the survey findings to good use.

  5. Understand your target audience – The responses that you receive at the end of the survey tell you a lot about your prospective customers. A well designed survey sheet can be a gold mine of information regarding your prospective customers. The survey results will help you refine future marketing campaigns, sales efforts and social media efforts.

  6. Create a feedback loop – A continuous feedback loop is critical for a startup whose product or service is still evolving. Surveys help you understand the pulse of your customers and changing market dynamics. A change in customer behavior/responses can be the best early warning signal. Create feedback loops through email and web surveys, after-purchase surveys, on-call surveys and Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. Survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Delighted (for NPS surveys), Typeform and of course Google Forms, allow you to create simple surveys in a jiffy.

  7. Best way to gain brand evangelists – Surveys help you identify early adopters. These are the people you would like to hold on as they not only test your product under real condition but also publicize it if they like it. You can reach out to them to write product reviews, get their feedback to improve the product and endorse your product. This can significantly bring down your product development and marketing costs.

Customer survey is an excellent tool available to entrepreneurs today. Thanks to technology, survey results can received and analyzed in real time thus reducing the overall time of product lifecycle. For a startup, this saving in time can be crucial in determining its success and staying ahead of the competition.

Arunima Shekhar has 9+ years of experience developing, designing and marketing technology. Currently she is Co-Founder at Scrambled Works - a creativity lab. In the past, she founded Tell-A-Tale, an education startup.


Rajnish Kumar's picture
Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog. http://www.prowrestlingleague.com/kartikeya-sharma/
Arunima Shekhar's picture
Thanks. Glad to be of help.
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