Online Surveys Vs Focus Groups – Which One Should Businesses Use In 2015?

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For brick and mortar run businesses to mobile app developers, there’s no arguing the value of customer feedback. And by feedback we mean the kind that makes you improve your products and services, enhancing your customer base, and growing your profile as a trustworthy business.

There are two widely used methods to avail customer feedback:

  1. Online Surveys
  2. Focus Groups


We take a look at each of these methods, where they excel and where they fall short when it comes to a connected-and-online customers of 2015.

Focus Groups – All about Exploring the Customer’s Mindsets

Focus groups are about a group of people who participate in an interactive group setting. This setting consists of a neutral venue where your customers can give you firsthand information and feedback, after using your products/services as flexibly as they want. Its like a business has a interesting conversation with a customer face to face, while giving them free rein over how they use the company’s wares.

Pros: Basically if you are looking to take your time and explore all angles of customer feedback, focus groups are preferred. They tell you how your customers think, why they think that way apart from what they are thinking.

Cons: Its costly as the company has to arrange the resources and bring in the customers to get that feedback. It also takes a ton of time to come up with the data.

Online Surveys – Getting Definite Answers from customers Instantly

Online surveys can be used to gain a definite answer from your customers by way of questions, measurable metrics, etc.

Pros: It’s a way of getting customer feedback without you expending a lot of funds to do so. Results are conclusive and instant. Online survey tools are free and allow for targeting of a wider demographic.

Cons: Due to its nature of presentation, there’s a possibility that you won’t be able to take a peek at how they think and arrive at their conclusions. The questions are rather fixed and can’t be changed once the survey has been initiated. This can be avoided by asking better questions in your survey.

Which to use and when?

The only thing that can help you determine whether to go with an online survey or focus group is by writing down the questions you need answered. Surely enough, as the questions come out, you’ll know if you want a flexible, open-ended approach of understanding how a customer thinks (focus group) or a direct approach of gaining instant feedback (survey). So ultimately, that can help you determine which suits your business objectives better.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.