Are you inferring when you could ask?

I recently completed a detailed customer survey for a software program I subscribe to. It was a conjoint analysis, which presents different feature profiles and price points to the respondent, asking them to pick the one they prefer.

What they will know from my responses? I’m cheap.

What they won’t know? Why.

They could assume I’m generically budget conscious. Or they could look at my industry, business consulting, and guess that as a non-creative I’m not their prime market. But they won’t know.

There are two questions I’d have added to the survey for a clearer picture. I know, I know, length is always an issue. However, this was already an extensive questionnaire, and these are less mentally taxing than the product comparisons in the conjoint portion.

How frequently do you use your current subscription?

  • Daily
  • Several times a week
  • Several times a month
  • Infrequently or for intermittent projects


How well do the features in your subscription suit your needs?

  • Not enough functions
  • About right
  • More than I need

Now we know if someone is purely price sensitive, or an infrequent user, or a basic function user. Each facet offers its own challenges and opportunities for retention, upgrades (to additional apps), or a possible broader market penetration.

I’d also have added my usual “safety net” question: Comments! Yes, they’re costly to analyze, especially on larger studies, but no survey will ever cover every topic and they’re still cheaper than focus groups or interviews.

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I always hear your voice in my head ‘if it is taking you too long, there is a simpler way to do it!’

Pauline Perreault
Market Research Analyst
Alberta Motor Association