As the military says, “intelligence can always be turned into something actionable.” This is precisely the mind-set you have to take when it comes to business and customer information. While you’re not trying to pry into the lives of customers and their associates to make their lives miserable, the most important thing when it comes to owning a business is ensuring you can constantly find another avenue to make money.

Business ideas don’t last forever, and in an era where you’re here today and gone tomorrow, it’s never been more important to properly “play” the “game” the way it’s supposed to be played. This is exactly where a business’ ability to find out what makes its customers tick comes into play.

For example, luxury companies often spend a lot of money on retail merchandising services to ensure their stocks are artificially scarce to drive up prices. In addition to market control, these companies also convince the general public that only wealthy people shop at their stores. By appealing to a specific demographic, they’re missing out on the entire point of personal style. A person’s wealth (or lack thereof) doesn’t necessarily determine what they wear, personal taste is important, too.

Personal style is completely relative. On a survey of clothing, you just as easily could have 100 different opinions on a man’s given outfit that day. Because some people proclaim they’re experts a given subject and refuse to really dig deep into the data, very rarely do people actually go out and interview people about their interests and drives to better improve your demographics and product placement. This perpetual cycle of laziness simply handcuffs business and ultimately makes their jobs harder.

That’s exactly why it’s important to do a good job with surveys when you’re a business person. You need to treat surveys as if they’re progress reports and you’re a kid in school. If you get way too many bad reports, something is in seriously wrong. Yes, it is possible for these sort of games to be played by competitors or disgruntled employees, but remember, some data is better than o data at all. With data collection services, businesses can better understand how their business, as well as others, operates, and they can ultimately enhance their profit margin tenfold by simply understanding what their customers want, and they can work on improving production capabilities to better facilitate the needs of their consumers.

Gather Accurate Information

The main step of any survey is to gather accurate information. Now, keep in mind, “accurate” can sometimes be a skewed way of explaining what the data gathered is. Numbers need context, and even if results were properly obtained, the interpretation of the data has to be explained to fully make use of acquired intelligence.

Oftentimes, data goes through multiple cycles of approval before it’s 100-percent confirmed as “actionable.” In the military actionable intelligence can be the different life and death, but in business, actionable intel can be the difference between a few thousand and a few million dollars made or lost. These are important things to understand because being fully aware of a market as a whole as well as consumer trends will allow businesses to understand what it is their customers want.

Some businesses have the luxury of a product that sells itself, but others, they are not so lucky. With new items coming onto the market, there is always going to be a rough beta testing phase to easily assess whether or not their products work as effectively as they claim, and also, it serves as free promotion for the product. If customers, especially loyal ones, know about a product they’re interested in buying years in advance, you can bet that a lot of them will be waiting for it the day said product comes out. Therein lies the importance of gathering precise and accurate data. If you know what your demographics are, you’re not going to waste time trying to sell salt to a slug. You’re going to target the right demographics with the right products, and you’re going to accomplish this primarily by using surveys.

Ultimately, surveys will give you an accurate assessment or opinion directly from the source.

Methods of Collection

When it comes to collecting data, it isn’t always as easy as using computers or person-to-person interviews following a sale.

Using gyms as an example, some gyms offer surveys, but by and large, that is a product market that is not necessarily product-driven, so there is not an emphasis to push the sales troops as hard as they possibly could. Rather than business like a gym, consider businesses like retail stores that rely more on interpersonal customer relations to drive the products.

Aside from worrying about specific surveys, you also have to keep in mind that sometimes these business strategies do not always translate into guaranteed profit. Most of the time electronic retail surveys are the best bet because they are convenient and usually tied in with offers. If you can promise consumers the chance at winning a given contest, usually that is where you will see a tremendous amount of customers that are diligently filling out surveys to maybe have the chance of winning a prize.

Always offer survey-takers prizes, and more often than not, you’re going to get people volunteering to do your survey. Always take these answers with a grain of salt, and if you suspect someone left a survey as a gag, don’t take it seriously and move on.

Improve Your Business from Within

Aside from finding out how to make more profit, the most important part of surveys is the opportunity to improve your business from the inside out. By understanding exactly what practices need improvements and whom you need to keep an eye out for in your business, you’re better engaged and prepared to have success in the long-term. That is the primary goal of just about any business. You need to maximise your opportunities and ensure you’re doing whatever you can to make the most of times where your business will otherwise fail to meet up to standards in which you set.