9 Types of surveys you should start using today

While there are many tools available, it’s still a good idea as a business to rely on various types of survey methods to discover what customers want. Whether it’s a market research survey, customer feedback survey, or audit survey, businesses know these kinds of questionnaires can make all the difference in determining success or failure.

Let’s dig a little deeper into what different types of surveys there are and how they could help you grow your business.

2 Types of survey instruments

First of all, you should know that when we speak of “surveys” there are actually two types of survey techniques or approaches that people use.

You have the questionnaire, which is the paper (old-school!) or digital list of questions that a respondent can answer individually. Usually, these surveys are built with closed-ended questions, but there are questionnaires that allow open-ended questions to explore more elaborate answers.

The three most applied methods using a questionnaire are the self-administered, the group-administered, and the household drop-off. Among the three, the self-administered survey method is often used by researchers nowadays.

Interviews are the second approach, which are usually more personal and probing. A researcher has the opportunity to ask follow-up questions to gain deeper insights, but the downside of the interview is its time-consuming nature.

The three most applied methods for the personal interview are called the phone interview, the face-to-face interview, and the online interview.

So you’re probably wondering: what different types of survey are there?

In this article, we’ll focus on the first, the digital questionnaire.
So let’s look at the 9 most commonly used types of surveys that could help you improve your business…

1. Market research survey

Do you want to determine how and where products are purchased?
Are you trying to discover customer needs?
Curious about the level of competitive positioning you have within a certain industry?

These questions can be answered through market research surveys. It allows you to find out “what your market thinks”.

This type of survey can be applied when no data is available yet: For example, to measure how your target audience feels towards a new product you’re about to launch.

Or when you want to build upon previously gathered data in your market research dashboard. When you’re starting from a certain benchmark, you can conduct a survey to measure, for example, how well that same new product is received a year after its launch.

Keep the types of survey questions in mind that:

  • Ask about the need/opinions towards a certain product or service.
  • Measure what features in a product are important to the respondent (Pricing/Quality/Popularity/Availability

How a market research questionnaire can grow your business:

  • It’ll give you quick and accurate insights into what people think about your products or services.
  • The data is collected in a structured way, which enables you to make well-founded decisions to base your strategies on.
  • You’ll be able to identify your product’s strengths and weaknesses as well as a course of action.

Discover more advantages of market research surveys here.

types of surveys - marketresearch(Click the image to try a market research example)

2. Employee satisfaction survey

This type of survey method is used to gauge whether employees are happy and satisfied with their work environment. Positive results in employee satisfaction surveys can indicate a higher level of employee motivation and a strong team spirit.

During the questionnaire, employees are asked to give feedback or voice concerns and frustrations they have with their company. Keep in mind that these questions are related to the atmosphere of the company and how an employee feels within a team.

This is different from the job satisfaction survey, which we’ll talk about in the next point!

Questions that you could ask in an employee satisfaction survey could be for example:

  • How many times a week do you feel stressed at work?
  • How meaningful is the work that you do to you?
  • How well do coworkers pay attention to your input at work? Do you feel valued?

It’s important to ensure the respondent’s anonymity when they’re taking this survey. It will lower the threshold to be honest and upfront. Employee satisfaction surveys work best when they are administered over a longer period of time. For example on an annual basis.

How an employee satisfaction survey can grow your business:

  • These insights can provide specific recommendations that will help improve the company.
  • Results can point out areas that might need improvement.
  • Employees can be included in the process of improving the company, having their voices heard will boost morale.
  • By administering this type of survey on a regular basis, you can track the improvement of satisfaction over time.

3. Job satisfaction survey

The job satisfaction survey is very similar to an employee satisfaction survey.

It is part of a series of surveys that measure satisfaction overall. But where employee satisfaction is a survey that can be taken by all employees in a company, a job satisfaction survey type will look at the personal views of an employee to see how satisfied they are with their job.

Measuring job satisfaction is said to have a direct influence on employee morale. Did you know that companies with satisfied, engaged employees outperform those who don’t by 200%?

Questions for this type of survey could be:

  • How meaningful is your work to you? (From not at all meaningful to very meaningful)
  • How likely are you to look for another job outside the company?
  • How proud are you to work for your company?

To make sure that you get the results you want, it is important that you point out the confidentiality aspect of this kind of survey. And then it’s time to find out what part of their jobs are keeping your employees happy or excited. Or where there’s room for improvement!

(Click the image to try a job satisfaction example survey) 

How a job satisfaction survey can grow your business:

  • Get clear & direct insights into how a colleague feels and operates within their team.
  • Build actionable targets for employees based on the input to improve their communication skills, teamwork, ambition
    both for themselves and the company.
  • Data will help you visualize where additional training or guidance is needed.
  • If your employees are satisfied with their job, it’ll show in their work and their representation of your company.

4. Exit interview survey

In this type of survey, employers are looking to find out why valued employees choose to leave their company. There are hundreds of reason why people leave their job: Personality conflicts with other employees or management, a lack of advancement opportunities, financial or additional benefits but sometimes it’s due to reasons unrelated to the job or work environment.

That’s what makes an exit interview survey such a great accessory to the exit interview. If it’s done systematically it will allow you to pinpoint why people leave the company.

That’s why it’s important to include different kinds of survey questions such as:

  • What’s your reason for leaving the company?
  • How would you say were your opportunities for growth/your satisfaction on the job/your financial benefits for the job? (Rate on a scale from “very bad” to “excellent”.)
  • Other questions on a scale that consist of: Team spirit, workplace, relationship to a manager, stress level, …

How even an exit interview can help you grow your business:

  • Aside from discovering why employees decided to leave your company, it’ll give you a strong indication of improvements that can be made within the job description or overall satisfaction of the employees.
  • Regular surveying will reduce your employee turnover, by tackling the smaller irritations in an early stage, it will help you increase productivity and engagement.
  • Lower your high costs that come with the turnover by using your data cleverly to anticipate other employees happiness on the job.

5. Customer satisfaction survey

Of all the different types of surveys, the customer satisfaction survey is probably the most widely used. Whether you’ve encountered in the grocery store, where you were asked to give a smiley rating to the quality of the vegetables. Or if you received a short questionnaire via email after you’ve had an online shopping spree, we’ve all seen them at one time in our lives.

This kind of survey can help companies and organizations quickly and accurately measure how pleased their customers are
with their product, service, event or with the company in general. Collecting customer feedback can even increase sales.

Your survey should have questions such as:

  • Was your issue resolved today? Did you get what you came to the store for?
  • How would you rate your shopping experience/customer service representative/purchase?

Unlike your employees though, you cannot “force” your customers to fill out your surveys. So it’s very important to ask the right questions in your customer satisfaction survey. And of course, to make it fun, inviting and quick to fill in.

Measuring customer satisfaction is the first important step towards building a foundation on which your company can grow:

  • It is a strong indicator whether or not your consumer is loyal to your brand and if they have the intention of repurchasing your product.
  • Knowing and making sure that customers are satisfied will reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value.
  • Measuring the satisfaction and tackling any negative input, will reduce the voicing of negative feedback in more public spaces like social media channels & fora.
  • Retaining your customers will cost you less than acquiring new ones! In addition to this, it is known that existing customers spend 67% more than new ones.
  • Respondents indicating they are very satisfied with your product or service can make excellent “brand ambassadors”.

types of surveys - customer satisfaction(click the image to try a customer satisfaction survey)

6. Brand awareness survey

While you may know your brand inside and out, this might not always be the case for your customer. People being aware of what your brand stands for, what the meaning of your company name or logo is, simply being “memorable” is what keeps you competitive in your market.

Creating brand awareness is one of the first steps when building an audience. This survey type, combined with your market research data, you can set up different kinds of marketing messages that can communicate your brand name and the products or services that are tied to it.

There are 6 main metrics that you should keep in mind when you want to start measuring your brand awareness:

  • Brand recall measures how well your audience remembers your brand from memory.
  • Brand recognition measures how your audience recognizes your brand if they see it.
  • Brand identity gauges the opinions towards your logo and branding elements.
  • Brand image shows what customers associate with your brand.
  • Brand trust indicates how trustworthy people find your brand. Especially important in case of a crisis.
  • Brand loyalty is the final and probably most important metric for growth, it will indicate if customers will return to you when their next purchase has to be made.

Some growth benefits of measuring brand awareness are:

  • You can use this survey type of research to see how well your strategies and marketing investments are paying off. The gathered data is perfect to calculate effectiveness and performance.
  • Spot new associations that people make with your brand to take on new (and sometimes unknown) business opportunities.
  • Prove that the perceptions of your brand fit the way you want to position your brand… OR discover where there’s room for improvement.

(Click the image to try a brand awareness survey)

7. Training evaluation survey

Employee training is an invaluable investment to keep your company on top of the latest trends and to stimulate growth in both your company and your employees.

There are different types of survey techniques used when giving pieces of training, this specific method enables your employees to voice their opinion on the quality of the training, its relevance and perhaps
indicate how well the presenter did as well. It’s an automated way to determine if important course topics have been correctly understood and to tackle possible issues as soon as possible.

In fact! By using a training evaluation form, an instructor could use the instant feedback to
address specific points in the middle of a class.

Your survey should have questions that:

  • Ask to rate the quality of the training/classroom/presentation/presenter.
  • Ask what topics during the training were useful and which weren’t.
  • How the training can be applied on the work floor.

How training evaluation surveys can help you grow your business:

  • It will help you ensure the quality of training and evaluate trainers as well as trainees.
  • Increase attendee satisfaction and productivity.
  • Continuously improve all aspects of training and align efforts of your training staff.

types of surveys - training evaluation form(Click the image to try a training evaluation survey)


8. Event evaluation survey

A questionnaire to evaluate your event is a more specific type of survey method. Especially when your company organizes their own events it’s important to measure its success afterward.

But even after attending an event where you had your own booth, it could provide you with useful information to ask attendees how they experienced your setup.

Keep in mind that while you might think every aspect of your event was a success, this might not be the case for some of the attendees. Challenge yourself to keep your event evaluation survey as short and to the point as possible, while still offering the possibility of evaluating every aspect of the event. They don’t have to be boring! Keep the tone of voice the same as the atmosphere of the event itself. (Works well for brand recognition too 😉 )

Use questions such as:

  • How would you rate the venue/program/catering/…?
  • What was your favorite aspect of the event?
  • Would you recommend a follow-up edition to friends or colleagues?

Take a look at this very successful example by KAABOO Del Mar and how they used an event evaluation survey for their festival.

Use event evaluation to grow your business and your event:

  • Capture honest and in-the-moment perceptions and opinions from attendees.
  • Give your audience an outlet to interact with your brand.
  • By keeping the survey short and easy, you’ll get more honest and simply more responses with invaluable data that’ll help you improve your next event.

9. Lead generation survey

Last but not lead… least!

A lead generation survey might actually be the most valuable one when you want your business. In a couple of simple questions, this type of survey method will gather both contact information and some preferences about your target audience.
Enough for you to build a list of possible prospects that are interested in your product or services.

Types of survey questions to think of:

  • A couple of form fields to gather contact data. Keep this to a minimum! Email addresses are what’s most important, perhaps the first name too. Other details can always be asked later on in the communication process.
  • An opt-in so that you are allowed to contact them via their shared email address.
  • Any kind of question that captures their preferences on your product or service.

Here’s a secret tip to make this last survey type even better: While the regular, but sometimes “boring” survey still can get you the insights and the data you need. There is a better way to get more leads!

By creating interactive, playful quizzes, you lower the threshold for people to participate, you increase the level of engagement AND you provide a respondent with something valuable… They learn something about themselves!
Take a look at how lead generation quizzes work here.

A good lead generation survey will get you:

  • LEADS! Contact data of people who are interested in your product or service.
  • Qualification of those leads, by asking a couple of questions about their preferences you’ll know how ready they are to purchase and what they’re looking for.
  • Permission to contact new prospects when they opted in on your survey.

Types of surveys - lead generation form(Click the image to try a lead generation survey)

That’s all folks!

Those were 9 of the most common different types of surveys, explained and with an insight on how they could help your company grow.

Which ones have you tried so far? And with success?

Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

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About the author:
Sofie Nelen

Sofie Nelen

Sofie was Pointerpro's very own Digital Marketer in a previous life and now advises Wijnegem's local board around communication-related topics. She is fond of experimental marketing and growth hacking. Oh, and she hates boring assessments!

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2 Responses

    1. Hi Dylan!
      There are multiple types of surveys.
      Depending on what type of research you’re doing, or what you’re using the questionnaire for (like data collection, email list building, …) some types are more suited than others.

      These are just our top 9 🙂

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