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How to analyze survey data? The 9 most popular methods that you should follow!

Mathew Maniyamkott

Mathew Maniyamkott

7 min read

It is natural for businesses to sit on a truckload of data after a survey marathon. While it is good to rest on your laurels, albeit for a short period, you are missing out on the essential part of the survey process if you don’t do this- analysis. If your goal with the survey were to collect data, you wouldn’t gain anything except having data that you can post on your blog posts. How do you use the feedback that you get from your customers?

Fret not. We are here to help you with the entire survey analysis process.

Why analyze survey data?

Data doesn’t add any value when it stands on its own. Data is only valuable when it is transformed into information which can be used to make business decisions. The word ‘analysis’ can make a lot of businesses run for cover. You don’t have to use complicated algorithms to analyze the survey feedback from your customers.

If you follow the details in the guidebook here, you will be able to fish out brilliant strategic decisions for your business based on the survey results.

When you send out surveys to your clients, you do not use the same kind of questions in the entire survey, right? Imagine the respondent’s consternation when they find that all the questions in the survey are open-ended or yes/no type questions. This is why you need to prepare a set of questions that ask for a varied type of data. When you get the answers, they will be in different formats. The question that remains is, how do you analyze the data in different forms?

Data is only valuable when it is transformed into information which can be used to make business decisions.

Points to consider when analyzing survey results:

Your objective

If the goal of the survey was just to get high-level insights, then you might not be missing out on much even if the response rate is low. But if you want a deep understanding of the issues that plague you, then it makes sense to get higher response rates as it is essential for more precise insights. When you are looking for more insights, your respondents will have to indulge you in your follow-up surveys.

Segment the responses

One of the most important rules of marketing is segmentation because customers are different, and all of them don’t want the same thing. There are a lot of variables using which you can segment your customers. It could be demographic factors like sex, age, region and other factors like the type of customer, the total duration of them being a customer, amount of money they have spent on your products and so on. Separating the respondents based on these characteristics help you identify what works for them and makes your targeting laser-sharp.

Bird’s eye view of the result

After the survey, while you will get a lot of profound insights, don’t forget to take note of the results as a whole. Use questions like below to get information that you can share across to your customers and employees.

  1. What is the overall percentage of customers who are extremely satisfied with the product?
  2. Percentage of customers who said they would renew the subscription?
  3. How many are subscribers to our newsletter among the respondents?
  4. How many of the customers plan to invest in more of our products?
  5. Which mode of communication did the customers like most?
  6. Which is one area that we need to improve?

Answers to all these questions hold a lot of weight, and it can reveal direct business-related insights.

Search for patterns

The best part of analyzing survey results is that you will find surprising insights that will leave you in awe. It is all about finding patterns that you would have otherwise missed. Break down the results that you get and look for patterns that emerge when using the data. Identifying patterns can help you narrow in on the target audience more carefully and help save the efforts of your sales and marketing team.

Separating the respondents based on their characteristics makes your targeting laser-sharp.

Open text comments

You don’t have to scout for patterns in open text comments as the customers will open their hearts out. There is a lot of value in this question as it gives the respondent the option to write what they feel without having to use the predetermined options offered in the survey. Make it a point to assign a separate person to take care of reading through all the text comments.

More often than not, these fields will have a lot of ideas that the respondent throws at you. The written words will have a lot of unsavory comments as well. Make sure that you follow-up with these respondents to ensure that you solve their problem.

Conduct a series of surveys

If it is in your budget, ensure that you repeat the surveys a few times so that you don’t make any drastic business changes that might affect you. If a small sample of customers say that they are looking to have a feature installed, do not immediately go with that. You may want to verify that it is indeed something your customers would want.

The next time you ask for feedback from your customers, draft the questions differently, and see how they respond. The answers might be different this time. It is better not to take any decisions in haste.

Visual representation of the results

Using the right visuals can make the data compelling, and even a non-specialist can find it easy to understand. It is pivotal, especially since you will be sending the results to your customers as well. Pie Charts, Columns, Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Word Clouds, Stacked columns, and Custom Charts are some of the most popular visual representation tools used in the market these days.

Choosing the right visuals can make the data easy or difficult to interpret. Even users would like to see the data in different formats. If you give them the option to change a particular set of data that is presented in graphs to columns, bar graphs, and others, it will be great for them.

Visualizations have a lot of impacts, especially since you will be presenting the survey results. Always ensure that you have the best type of visual representation planned to get the survey results. The primary reason why we insist on creating stunning visual representations of the survey results is that specific data can only be understood in visual forms.

Determine the next step of action you want to take

Once you have analyzed the entire stretch of results, the next thing that you need to do is create a step-by-step process where you figure out what you want to do with it. If there is a set of customers who are entirely disgruntled with what you do, it is high time that you take immediate action to counter it. Then take care of the next set of issues that plague your business based on the feedback from the survey.

Create a series of steps to communicate with your customers about how you want to take it forward. Tell them about the mistakes you have been doing so far to have elicited the kind of feedback you got. Promise to work on the steps and assure them that the mistakes you made were in the past and you will do your best to better your previous performance.

Choosing the right visuals is all about making the data easy to interpret.

Share your results

No, sharing the survey results is not a part of analyzing them. But it is imperative that you take the time to share the results of the survey to all the stakeholders involved, especially to the ones who you sent the survey to. Tell them how much you appreciate the fact that they took the time to respond to your survey.

If you plan to work on any of the suggestions that the feedback gave, then make it a point to address that as well. Let them know that you will be working on the feedback and provide them with a deadline if possible.

Share not only your customer’s misgivings but also the nice things that they tell about you. Being honest and transparent will give you more brownie points. In today’s business world, being authentic is everything. It is the only thing in business that would never backfire- authenticity.

Should you use a tool for survey analysis?

The traditional method of analyzing surveys is not only passe, but they are going to waste your time. If you look at it closely, you will notice that in the long term you are spending money down the drain. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to analyze the data while also ensuring that there is no human error that results in inaccurate analysis.

When there is a large amount of data in the form of feedback involved, it becomes too much to manage the entire workload properly. Using an online survey tool is the best way to ensure that all the work is completed correctly and with little human intervention. Also, an online survey tool like SurveySparrow doesn’t care about the workload. It can run through thousands of data sets within seconds to produce a brilliant mixture of visual representation.

Conclusion

Surveys are an effective method to understand the psyche of your customers. The feedback that you get from your customers can be used to make important business decisions. Before you start your survey, ensure that there are clear objectives listed down so that you can narrow down the questions you use in it.

While surveys do carry a lot of biases based on the design or the type of questions, sending them out periodically can help you get more precise results. While it is crucial that you find the right answers, it lies on your marketing team drafting the right questions.

Once you get the survey results, the next step is to analyze the results. Sitting on rough data is not going to give you any benefit. Having a robust step-by-step process in place for analyzing your data is going to fetch you a lot of insight.

Mathew Maniyamkott
Mathew Maniyamkott

Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow

Regular contributor to various magazines. Passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, marketing, and productivity.

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