Have you filled out a customer satisfaction survey and wondered why do they need to know my age and gender? Or income level? Do you ever wonder why these personal questions are necessary?
What are Demographics
These questions – age, gender, marital status, educational level, ethnicity, and income – make up a type of data called demographics. Demographics help researchers to understand the differences and similarities between subgroups in a population.
Let’s take a look at how fast food restaurants are using surveys to help improve their businesses and you’ll see the value of demographics.
When you visit most fast food restaurants these days, you’ll find a request to complete a customer satisfaction survey on your receipt. The restaurant wants to know how well it is doing in meeting your needs as a customer, so the survey will ask about the food, the service, and the restrooms. It will also ask those personal questions about age, income, etc.
Fast food restaurants serve a diverse group of people who have different expectations. For instance, a young mom with 2 preschool kids is going to look for different things in her fast food restaurant experience than would a teenager on a 30-minute lunch break.
By asking the demographic questions, the business can group the respondents into classes of people who have similar expectations. In this way, they can see how what they are currently doing is meeting the needs (or not) of any particular group of people.
Why Include Demographics on Your Survey
Just like the fast food restaurant, your business serves a diverse group of people. It may seem on the surface that all of your customers have the same characteristics, but in truth they do vary somewhere. You won’t know in what ways until you add demographic questions to your surveys.
Here are some surprising things you might learn via demographics:
- There is a group that ALREADY loves you. Convincing people to try your business when they aren’t really interested is expensive and ineffective. When you know who already appreciates what you offer, you can target your marketing to reach them and get a better return on your marketing investment dollars.
- The expectations of one sub-group are driving your business decisions. Without the ability to classify your customers into groups, the loudest voices are the ones you listen to when making business decisions. But the loudest voices don’t necessarily speak for the majority of your customers – or for the customers who matter most to you.
- Where to find more of your ideal customer. It is said that 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. But what kind of customer makes up that 20%? Demographics can help you determine who these ideal customers are, and once you know who they are, you can set out to reach more of them.
Make sure you add some demographic questions to your next survey. You may be surprised by what the results will teach you about a group that you think you know.