4 Survey Questions Every Business Should Ask

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Surveys are often overlooked, but can uncover powerful insights that brands can use to write better copy, create better products and serve your customers better.

In this episode we share…

  • 4 powerful questions that she uses whenever she optimizes a website or funnel
  • A powerful technique for getting meaningful answers you can use
  • And some tools you can use to run surveys at scale

Episode Transcript

Talia: Today we’re talking about meaningful customer research, how to get into your customer’s heads with four specific questions every single person should be asking their customers or their visitors.

Ross Simmonds: So you just gave a talk, amazing talk by the way, and you broke down a handful of different questions that folks should be asking their prospects, their customers, to really get at the core of why they make decisions. And it would be awesome, I believe, for you to share those insights with the audience. So let’s jump right in. What were the four questions? How did you come up with them and how can people use them to kind of drive results for their own company when they’re doing research?

“Surveys don’t work for us, Talia…”

Talia Wolf: I think first we should probably talk about why customer surveys are important. Because most people that I talk to say…

  • We don’t run customer surveys cause we don’t have the time.
  • It’s meaningless to us or…
  • We’ve run surveys. We don’t really get any interesting results in that, so we’re just not going to bother anymore.

I’m here to say that with every single project that I start, whether if it’s for my clients or my students, I always run surveys.

It can be on the website for visitors or it can be for client surveys, but we use the, I guess, the insights that we get from customer surveys to write all of our copy and choose images and everything. The idea here is that surveys work really, really well if you know what to ask, if you ask meaningful questions.

That’s what we’re actually talking about today. So this is where these four meaningful questions come from because we’ve tried.

We’ve asked hundreds of questions and these are the top four questions that I recommend every single business should ask in order to really understand the value that they’re providing.

4 Questions Every Business Should Ask

#1 What was going on in your life that made you search for this solution?

This is a question that will help you understand people’s intent.

  • What was going in their life?
  • What challenges were they facing?
  • What conversations were they having?
  • What were they searching for?

This is a really good question to just set the mood and understand what habits, what things are happening in their lives that drove them to actually look for a solution. It’s a great question.
We get awesome feedback from it.

#2 When you weren’t using the solution, how did you solve this problem?

Most people think they’re going to get a list of their competitors. That’s not the case. You’re actually going to learn really cool stuff. So sometimes people will say, “Well, we didn’t even solve this problem before,” or, “We were using an intern or spreadsheets.” Or there’s just all sorts of things that you can learn from it. But the most important thing is the way you can use the answers.

When people are on the website, they come to your website to solve a problem and they want to relate. They want to know. They want to feel like you know them. You can use these answers and say, “You’ve tried X, Y, and Zed. They haven’t worked. Here’s what does.” And when someone sees that they go, “Wow, this person, like this company gets me, they know who I am.” So it’s a great question to just further understand what people have tried, why they’re frustrated, why it didn’t work.

#3 If you couldn’t use <solution> anymore, what would you miss the most?

I have to say that’s my favorite question. Sometimes I even phrase it as like if I closed down shop tomorrow, what would you miss? I know that many people are going to think, “Oh they’re just going to mention our features. They’re going to mention the pricing.” But that’s so far from the truth. This is where you’re going to find that core value that you are searching for. This is when people are going to mention things you had no idea of how they’re really using your product, your solution, what they really value from the service you’re providing. So awesome question.

#4: What’s the number one thing you’d mentioned to a friend if you wanted to convince them to give your solution a try?

Two things where this question, A, testimonials, amazing. Instead of just reaching out and saying to someone, “Can you write a testimonial for us?” These are the perfect testimonials because these are the people saying, “Oh, we’d recommend this,” or “We’d recommend that.” So awesome. And secondly, of course you’re going to dig in even further to the value that you’re providing. What will people actually recommend about you?

Ross Simmonds: And if they’re talking to a friend, they’re going to have a more human response, which is also valuable in terms of getting copy that you can actually use.

Talia Wolf: Exactly.

Ross Simmonds: Yeah. No, I love that. We always strive to give actionable insights. If you were to look at these four questions and you were to say, “How can I get these in front of my prospects in front of the people I’m trying to reach?” Is there any tools? Is there any strategies? Is there any techniques that you can think of that somebody should use to get these four questions in front of their audience today?

Pro Tip: How to get meaningful answers from your surveys

Talia Wolf: At first, I’d say one thing that you might notice is when you asked these questions, you may get like boring answers, right?

Ross Simmonds: Right.

Talia Wolf: Because as humans, we tend to rationalize a lot of our decisions. So if we reach out to someone and say, “Hey, what persuaded you to sign up?” They’re just going to say your features or your pricing or some boring answer, which isn’t true. What you want to do, a really cool tip that I use is it’s called the five why’s. Essentially what you do is you keep asking why until there are no why’s left.

Ross Simmonds: Oh, I love that. That’s awesome.

Talia Wolf: It’s an awesome way to just dig further. When you ask someone a question and they say, “Oh we signed up because of your features.’ Then you’re going to say, “Okay, but why did you need these features?”

Ross Simmonds: Right.

Talia Wolf: What made you? So you keep asking why and we get amazing insights from that.

Ross Simmonds: Cool.

Top Survey Tools You Can Use

Talia Wolf: That’s the number one tip I’d say with that. The thing about surveys is that they are super simple to implement. That’s where Ross and I are coming from. We want to give you something that you can implement in like five minutes, right? If you want to set up a survey on your website for visitors that are coming to your website and you want to just figure out their intent, like what are they looking for? Then you can use a bunch of tools. My go to, one is Hotjar. The easiest one to set up, but there are so many.

Talia Wolf: What I like about it is just that you can segment it because I know that many of my clients are worried about spamming their clients or their visitors. What you do is you can segment it to how many pages of people have seen or how many times they’ve been to your website or how much they’ve scrolled. You can really make sure that you are serving those engaged people. That’s one way. And if you want to send a survey to your clients, which I highly recommend, or your customers, you can use a free tool like Typeform or Survey Monkey.

Ross Simmonds: Cool.

Talia Wolf: Awesome tools. You can set it up in five minutes because they have the templates already. All you’ve got to do is copy and paste the questions into that and email it to everyone. It’s super easy and it really, all these questions will drive so much knowledge into your company.

Ross Simmonds: That’s awesome. To summarize for everyone, we have four key questions.

  • What was going on in your life/day that made you search for this solution?
  • When you weren’t using the solution, how did you solve this problem?
  • If you couldn’t use the solution anymore, what would you miss the most?
  • What’s the number one thing that you would mention to a friend if you wanted to convince them to give our solution a try?

And then from all of these to remember the importance of asking why, over and over and over again, so you can truly understand at the core why someone made that decision. Because sometimes those answers can surprise you.

Talia Wolf: Yeah, I mean, it’s about breaking that barrier where people have maybe feeling all sorts of things, but they won’t actually say them. When you dig further into that why, it opens that up and just don’t be afraid to just say why and sit there and just like let the question, like let the answer come.

Ross Simmonds: Right. And let it be awkward if you have to let it be awkward.

Talia Wolf: Yeah, definitely.

Ross Simmonds: Sit there and let the sounds do the work. And then from there, some of the solutions that you mentioned, Hotjar, Typeform, Survey Monkey, et cetera, is great platforms to kind of get these questions out there. That’s amazing. I love it. I think this was a very actionable driven podcast episode for folks to kind of take some insights and ask better questions and get better insights.

Talia Wolf: Yeah. Right. And then guys, if you have any questions, any things that you want tips on or you’d love us to cover in one of our next episodes, jump into our Facebook group, which is the Action Driven Podcast group. And we would be happy to see all the stuff that you’re interested in so that we can cover it in one of our next episodes.

Ross Simmonds: Yeah, that sounds great. Link is in the bio/in the description below.

Hosted by
Ross & Talia
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