Learn how to use online surveys to strengthen relationships with your key suppliers and to evaluate potential of the new ones.
Who is this article useful for?
Purchasing managers and buyers
Create a survey for free
Get inspired and expand your evaluation criteria
Learn to strengthen your supplier relationships
Choose proper questions to ask
Discover ways to share your survey
At the end of the supply chain is the end customer. A satisfied end customer is the wish and goal of every B2C company. Even within the supply chain, i.e. between B2B companies, there are vendor-customer relationships. And each of these companies wants to keep their own customers happy. Everything is directed towards one goal - to sell in such a way that the output of the whole process is a satisfied customer. To reach this goal, what needs to be at the beginning of the process? A quality supplier that the company can trust and will work with for the long term. The supplier must also be satisfied for everything to work well. Especially if it is a key supplier.
In this article, you will learn practical ways to improve supplier relationships using online surveys. There are two main purposes of surveying your suppliers:
Supplier evaluation and selection
Measuring your supplier's satisfaction
Supplier evaluation and selection
You are about to decide which companies to include among your suppliers. You decide according to predefined evaluation criteria such as price, speed of delivery, quality of production, sustainable production, quantity of delivery, frequency of delivery, history of the supplier on the market, supplier's ability to repay its own obligations, quality of communication and friendliness of the supplier, etc.
Use the online questionnaire to collect data about your potential suppliers systematically and efficiently. You'll have it all in one place, Survio automatically compiles the results into clear graphs and tables. This gives you a comparison of your potential suppliers and allows you to decide at a glance which one suits you best according to your evaluation criteria.
It is up to you how often you conduct such a survey. We recommend that you set a frequency for conducting this supplier assessment, for example, once a quarter or every six months. The reason is to keep you up-to-date on the quality of your suppliers, both existing and potential ones. Up-to-date data can give you an incentive to end cooperation with some suppliers and reinstate others. By choosing the right suppliers, you can save a lot of money that could have been spent unnecessarily.
TIP: Expand the number of criteria you use to evaluate and select your suppliers. Many companies make their selection decisions based primarily on the price at which they can buy from a supplier. However, you need to take a long-term view. How much money does it cost you if you have to change suppliers because of problematic deliveries? What extra resources do you need to expend if you get poor-quality products in your van and have to complain? How much are you forced to pay for delays in your own production caused by supply problems? You need to do the math. Then you will see that it pays to buy from reliable suppliers who have slightly higher prices. Still, it's worth it financially.
If you want to be really precise in your evaluation and selection, set a value for each criterion - not all criteria will be equally important to you. You can download the results from the questionnaire in an XLSX format, then align the rating scales so that the results can be compared and after that, you multiply the data by the criterion value. You can then select the best supplier in no time.
Supplier evaluation survey questions
Please indicate the amount of product you are able to supply to us per month.
How fast is it possible to deliver 500 pieces of the product to our company?
Describe how the complaint process works.
What quantity discount are you willing to give if we buy 50% more goods?
Measuring your supplier's satisfaction
Do you have key suppliers that you have worked with and trust for a long time? Do you operate in a very specific market and have only a few suppliers and depend on a working relationship with them? Then it is strategic for you to keep your suppliers happy when it comes to your mutual cooperation.
Try to think about the areas of the supplier-customer relationship:
Do you pay your debts on time?
Do you communicate planned purchases to suppliers well in advance?
Do the Incoterms suit both parties?
Are you taking enough from the supplier to make it worthwhile? Have you become a key customer for them?
Do your buyers communicate politely and seriously with the supplier?
How often do you make changes to orders already placed?
Is there anything you can do in these areas to make your supplier happier and your relationship stronger? Ask your supplier about this in the online questionnaire. This will let them know that you are interested in win-win cooperation. However, once you get the feedback, you need to implement the necessary changes if it's in your power to do so. Otherwise, you've wasted both your and your supplier's time and it will look like you're not taking them seriously.
Remember that by implementing positive changes you are strengthening relationships with your key suppliers. The time and effort you put into this is an investment that will pay off down the line.
Supplier satisfaction survey questions
Are you satisfied with our payment timing?
Are you satisfied with the frequency of our orders?
Do you see any opportunities for improvement in the Incoterms we have chosen for our cooperation?
Is communication with our buyers pleasant and smooth?
Is the number of changes to orders already placed by us acceptable for you?
Types of questions
With Survio, you can choose from 19 question types, including star rating, simple and multiple choice questions, matrix questions or open-ended questions. There is also a special question type for measuring Net Promoter Score.
Always think first and define what is the goal of your survey and what information you want to find out. Then create specific questions that follow the defined goal of yours. Choosing the right type of question is crucial. If you choose the wrong type of question, you will collect skewed data, which can ruin the results completely. Be especially careful when choosing between a single and multiple choice. Answers of these two types are analyzed differently. We have prepared a special article on How to use closed-ended questions correctly - feel free to browse through our blog.
Open-ended questions (also called text questions) are a great fit when you are questioning your suppliers. An overuse of open-ended questions is not recommended, though, because they have to be analyzed individually. You really have to read every single text answer to get the big picture. However, supplier surveys are not carried out among huge amounts of respondents like other surveys. Therefore, it is quite realistic to read text answers from 5, 10 or perhaps 20 or 30 respondents.
Take advantage of this and let your suppliers go into detail. You take care of a few of your precious suppliers - you can afford to take the time to think about and discuss their specific wishes.
How to collect responses?
Survio offers many ways to share your survey with your suppliers. Choose channels that are the most natural for the current type of communication. It will probably be an e-mail communication or communication through a messenger app. There are also other possibilities, check them out. You can share your survey:
The most suitable option for supplier surveys would be probably e-mail invitations. You will love them because of the following reasons:
you can send them out in bulk directly from Survio, just upload your contact list,
you can observe essential metrics like delivery rate, click rate, open rate and response rate,
you can send out a reminder to your supplier - it is also an automated feature, that you can set up,
in the downloaded Excel spreadsheet, you will see the respondent’s e-mail connected to each answer on each line. This will allow you to identify which answer belongs to which respondent.
Result analysis at your service
Watch the results in real time, as they come from your respondents. Survio generates the results automatically in clear tables and charts. You can filter summary results and also individual answers, change the type of chart, create pivot tables.
You can download your results as a report in one click (PDF, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, CSV or Google Sheets) get ready to present ascertained data to your colleagues in an instant.
It doesn't end with the answers you get
Remember the reason why you carried out the whole survey. To pick the most suitable suppliers or to make your key suppliers happier. That does not happen by collecting answers. You must act.
Prepare yourself that you might actually leave some suppliers and start working with new ones. You know it will be a data-driven decision and you can trust it.
Take feedback from your suppliers seriously and if they tell you they would appreciate a change, take a proactive approach. Raise a discussion within the company and then perhaps with the supplier themselves in terms of what you can do for them and then actually do it. This is the only way to show your key suppliers that you really care.
We believe we have shown you how online questionnaires can be useful also in supplier-customer relationships. Now it's up to you to create your own questionnaire.