Use Surveys to Understand Customer Expectations and Behavior

Content Contributed By Creative Works.

One of the most important questions that business owners and FEC operators are asking is, “What will my customer demand and behavior be like when I reopen?”

For now, it’s unpredictable because we’ve never seen a situation like this. It’s tough to plan for expected revenue and costs, such as staffing and operations, without knowing the type of guests and frequency of visits once you open.

Combating Unpredictability

Monday Night Brewing, a local Atlanta brewery, found a way to combat the unpredictability and get a better idea of what their customers’ behavior would look like once they reopened.

The company conducted a survey among people who had visited their Atlanta tap rooms in the last 3 months. Their goal was to ask questions about customers’ expectations of taproom sanitation practices and changes to their expected visitation behavior.

Using Surveys To Help Plan

The survey method can absolutely be used by FEC operators to get a better understanding of what to expect when reopening. Assuming you’ve used data collection methods in the past, you should have email contact information for your guests. You can send a survey to garner real data from real customers.

Creating a Survey
Creating a survey is probably easier than you think. SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo are two of many free or low-cost options to conduct simple surveys. Use your customers’ email addresses to send out the survey. You have to expect that most customers won’t complete the survey, but you’re looking for a significant sample size to be able to draw conclusions from (in this case, probably at least 150-200 survey responses).

Questions to Ask
The questions that you ask in the survey completely depend on what you’re trying to draw conclusions about. Maybe you want to know what percentage of people plan on returning to your facility within the first month that it’s reopened. Or maybe you want to know the likelihood of a family hosting a birthday party at your facility within the next 6 months.

It would be smart to also include some sort of qualifying or persona-based question. For example, you might ask “What brought you to our facility for your last visit?” The answers could be:

  • Birthday party
  • Fun day out with friends or family
  • Meal with friends or family
  • Corporate or group event
  • Other

This will help you sort your survey response data based on the kind of customer they are.

Survey Tips to Keep in Mind

  • People get bored quickly, so don’t ask too many questions or you risk incomplete responses.
  • Don’t ask leading questions
    • Bad example: “After this horrifically scary virus, will you be coming to our facility with your family in the next 3 months?”
    • Improved example: “In light of what has happened, will you be coming to our facility with your family in the next 3 months?”
  • Avoid double barrel questions (questions that ask more than one thing):
    • Example: “Will you be coming to our facility and hosting a birthday party in the next 3 months?”
  • Thank participants after completion of survey

Using the Results

If you’re able to gather up enough responses, you should be able to draw some real conclusions that will help you determine actions, such as when to open, changes to make to your facility, what your customers expect from your facility, and much more.

During unpredictable times, a survey is a fantastic way to get some real answers that can help you set your business up for success.

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