surveys | September 25, 2020

11 Types of Surveys and How to Choose The Right One

Daniel Ndukwu

The world would be much different if people could read minds. We can’t so the next best thing is the different types of surveys you can send to customers and members of your organization.

Surveys help you understand what’s working, what isn’t, and different areas you can improve.

With that information, you can make changes that are almost guaranteed to create a measurable impact on your business.

When used properly, surveys will give you deep insights into the most important aspects of your organization. Unfortunately, they’re often used incorrectly which diminishes their usefulness to you.

This article focuses on multiple types of surveys and the best time to use each one so you can get the right information to truly grow your business.

What do we mean by surveys?

A quick detour before we jump into the types of surveys.

A survey is a research method used to collect qualitative and quantitative data from a clearly defined group of respondents. Traditionally, they were distributed using paper but with the advent of technology, you can send a survey to people halfway across the world and collect responses in real-time.

The core of any survey is a questionnaire but the main difference is that questionnaires are where you ask the question but surveys also analyze the data.

The key aspect of the above definition is the fact that surveys are sent to defined groups – also known as market or audience segments. The better defined your group is, the better your data and the more useful the insights.

In fact, the type of survey you use will depend on the group it’s intended for.

1.  Employee/job satisfaction surveys

An employee/job satisfaction survey, as the name implies, measures how your team perceives their jobs and your organization as a whole. It seeks to understand the areas you’re doing well and the areas you’re lacking.

These types of surveys are most effective when you’re able to follow up with the respondents and ask them to elaborate on the reasons for their answers. At the same time, people may not be as forthcoming if the responses aren’t anonymous. This is because they may fear the negative consequences of being critical about internal policies or initiatives.

Employee and job satisfaction surveys have a lot of overlap which is why they’re mentioned together but they can be separated. The employee satisfaction survey seeks to understand how the person feels about the organization as a whole.

The job satisfaction survey seeks to understand how they feel about their specific role. Do they find their job fulfilling? Do they feel alienated by their colleagues? Is the current work setup affecting their health and work-life balance?

These surveys can reveal insights that help you diagnose why you may have a high Bradford Score which leads to the ability to form an action plan. Or, it can reveal why your Bradford Score is low (a good thing) and how to keep it that way.

2.  Post-event surveys

Events are dynamic situations and everyone has a unique experience. You may feel like you understand how it went. Feedback from participants and attendees may paint a different picture.

That’s why it’s so important to get feedback from as many people as possible. It’ll better picture of what people enjoyed and what they disliked. At the same time, you can understand if the expectations you set beforehand lived up to reality.

A few things you can ask about are:

  • Staff friendliness and helpfulness
  • Satisfaction with the event as a whole
  • Favorite part of the event
  • Least favorite part of the event
  • How likely they are to attend an event in the future

3.  Customer satisfaction surveys

These are among the most popular types of surveys businesses use. It lets you know if you’re hitting the mark with your products, services, and the entire customer experience.

There are quite a few methodologies for doing customer satisfaction surveys and there are different CSAT scores associated with them. The most popular methodologies are:

NPS (net promoter score) surveys help you understand and measure customer loyalty. It asks respondents a single question “how likely are you to recommend our company/product/etc. to a friend or colleague?

The options are on a scale of 1-10 and then it goes on to ask the respondent why.

The post-purchase survey is used to understand how a customer feels about a recent purchase experience. This is in contrast to the NPS which measures overall loyalty. It gives insights about specific areas that can be improved.

Customer satisfaction survey (CSAT), as the name implies, gauges customer satisfaction with the actual product or service they bought. It evaluates the products on their merit. A simple question such as “how would you rate your satisfaction with the products/services you received?” is enough.

Usability surveys. This type of survey is used in two separate situations. The first one would apply to your website. It gauges how easy it is to navigate and find information. The second one is related to your products. How easy are they to use?

The right methodology for constructing a survey can only take you so far. It’s also important to have a thorough understanding of the audience you are designing the survey for through the insights you gain from the survey.

Understanding your customers is key to growing your business and how better do so than through proper data mining?

In order to drive actionable insights from the data obtained in a customer satisfaction survey, consider leveraging smart data analytics software to uncover new information. Using a killer tool can help you get the most out of your survey.

4.  Customer exit/cancellation surveys

No matter how good your products and services are, people will leave. There are two routes you can take. Either you accept it as a fact of life or you focus on figuring out exactly why people are leaving.

If you adopt the second course of action (which is highly recommended) then you’ll be able to spot issues you didn’t know existed and fix them. At the same time, you may be able to save a customer if the issue is something that can be easily rectified.

5.  Employee exit surveys

This is something that’s often overlooked because of the negative feelings associated with employees leaving. Sometimes it’s best to use an impartial device like a survey to find out where you were lacking as an employer (if that’s the case).

When someone leaves your company, they may be more candid with the answers they give you about working conditions, pay, management style, etc. Perform this survey as quickly as possible so the reasons for leaving are still fresh in the former employee’s mind.

6.  Onboarding surveys

These can be used for both employees and customers. A customer onboarding survey helps you understand how you can better meet their needs. This is different from customer satisfaction surveys because you’re looking for specific action items that affect the overall experience.

Employee onboarding surveys are there to help guide your new employee as well as your processes. Are new employees able to find their way around, get acclimatized, understand their position, work well with the standard tools you use such as employee monitoring and time tracking software, etc.? These are things an onboarding survey will help you understand.

7.  Market research surveys

These types of surveys are powerful, underutilized, and easy to get wrong. It’s no secret that when you understand the market or niche you’re operating in, good things happen.

There are countless ways to perform market research surveys and the approach you adopt will depend on whether you have customers, what phase of business you’re in, and your resources.

Note that with market research surveys, you’re going after primary data sources. What that means is the information hasn’t been collected by a third party previously. Everything is new. You can then use the insights you gain to create marketing collateral, content, optimize sales processes, and brand positioning.

A few things you want to understand:

  • The market’s perception of your niche
  • Price sensitivity
  • Level of competition
  • Awareness of the problem you’re solving
  • Customer segments within your market

8.  Process evaluation survey

This type of survey is much less common but it can teach you a lot about your internal processes. This is especially true when you have a lot of teams or move quickly and processes aren’t always written in stone.

The goal of this survey is to help you figure out how well initiatives are being implemented and where things can be improved. When used often, it can help you iterate on standard operating procedures.

9.  Price sensitivity surveys

If you look around your market or any market you’ll notice that products and services tend to have the same or similar pricing. This may be because everyone has it figured out and knows how much to charge.

More likely, no one has it figured out and they’re all copying each other. Price sensitivity surveys help understand the market’s attitude around pricing and are closely tied to market research. Is there room for a premium solution? Are people only willing to pay bargain prices? Can the prices support your ongoing expenses and still yield a profit?

With this type of survey, it’s important to segment the people who take it so you won’t get skewed results. For example, the customers who spend the most with you may be willing to buy more expensive products while casual browsers are extremely price sensitive.

10.              Psychographic analysis survey

If you don’t know, we love psychographic segmentation. It’s one of the most powerful forms of customer segmentation because it deals with the attitudes, lifestyles, and, to an extent, the behavior of individuals.

When you understand who your people are you can create better products, marketing materials, brand values, etc. This type of survey asks questions to understand the way people feel about products, what they think about certain scenarios, and how they spend their time.

11.              Product research surveys

You may have done this kind of survey informally in the past when developing the idea for a product. The mistake people make is only using it when they get started.

These surveys should be used throughout the product lifecycle so you can continually iterate and improve. They’re unique because they’re sent to internal teams as well as end-users.

For maximum impact, use them during each of these stages:

  • Ideation
  • Launch
  • Growth
  • Maturity
  • Decline


This collection of the different types of surveys is by no means all the surveys you can create to improve your business.

Think of it as a starting point.

Implement one or two to start and when you get familiar with implementing and analyzing survey results, take advantage of a few more types.

Let me know the types of surveys you’re using in the comments and don’t forget to share.


  1. Thank you for informing me about price-sensitive surveys that help a businesses decide what the market is willing to pay for products. About a week ago, I was talking to my brother, and he mentioned that he wants to join a country club because he loves golfing. I have no idea how to price that kind of experience, but I would think that professionals would be able to help country clubs find the right price for their target audience. I will have to talk to my brother and see how much he wants to pay.

    1. Don’t mention it. I can’t give you insights into the actual price that but you would consider the intangible benefits and the positioning of the experiene itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles