Do you know what your customers think about you? Do you routinely survey to assess what clients think about your products and services? A marketing survey is one of the best tools for collecting feedback. But it can backfire if you don’t use it correctly.
In a previous article I discuss prerequisites to design a great marketing survey. How will you get your clients to respond to your survey? Many companies incentivize their users by offering coupons or gift cards to request responses.
A Great Example of a Horrible Survey: Google Voice
I was recently reminded of a couple no-no’s in soliciting client feedback. I subscribe to Google Voice, a Voice over IP platform. Yesterday morning I logged onto Voice to be greeted by a blue bar with the text “Help Improve Google Voice” and a plea to take a ten minute survey.
I believe in feedback and enjoy offering critique if I think it will result in a better product. As a result, I indulge surveys if they aren’t intrusive. But I wanted to wait until later because I had things to do. I searched for a button to close the bar, but there was none. And the bar shifted the page down so I couldn’t easily see the page. This was failure number one.
After they provided me no easy way to close the bar (failure number two,) I acquiesced and completed the damn survey.
Because the experience irritated me, I kept my answers sparse and didn’t go into great detail. I would have but because Google held me hostage until completing their survey, I wasn’t feeling particularly generous. You can imagine the inferior quality of information this ill-conceived survey accrued.
After being bent to their will and filling out the damn survey, the bar remained! So not only did I fall prey to their extortion, but they didn’t even reward me by removing the annoying intrusive bar! Failure number three.
Let’s distill these elements into rules of how not to survey your customers:
- Don’t nag or irritate your customers.
- Make all surveys voluntary. Allow your clients to decline gracefully.
- If you promise an incentive for completing your survey, deliver it.
Google completely screwed up their survey. This is a tool that effectively nurtures relationships. They used it and it irritated people and created disgruntled users.
Here are a few other rules to follow when putting a survey into the field:
- If at all possible, ask first-time respondents only basic demographic information so you can find their buying habits. Save intrusive personal questions for later questionnaires or more personal interaction after you’ve earned their trust.
- Make all entries in your survey optional. Don’t need your customer to enter any information they don’t want to. I once took a survey for a company I didn’t yet trust and they required my income, religion, age, and a host of other intrusive questions. I made up the information.
- If you send out a mailer, use business reply mail. Don’t expect your client to shell out for a stamp.
The bottom line is to use the golden rule when designing and putting surveys into the field. Ask yourself what survey you would want to complete. Then ask your clients the same thing.
Good luck. I’ll be pulling for you. Until then,
profitable business All!