Wanted: Surveys of Surveys

We are bombarded with surveys. Buy a car, get a phone call asking for your opinions. Buy groceries, and the checker gives you the receipt and asks you to answer a few questions. Buy from an online retailer, you’re asked to review a product in a survey. It’s overdone, becoming intrusive and could result in a negative backlash …

Surveys, surveys, surveys ...We are bombarded with surveys. Buy a car, get a phone call asking for your opinions. Buy groceries, and the checker gives you the receipt and asks you to answer a few questions. Buy from an online retailer, you’re asked to review a product in a survey. It’s overdone, becoming intrusive and could result in a negative backlash from your customers.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook: My rabid dislike of surveys is no secret — my dentist recently sent me a survey after a 15 minute consult. Today, my bank sent me a survey for a 5 minute check deposit transaction at an ATM. This is very annoying.”

My friend’s Facebook comment opened up a litany of snark such as:

“I’ll have a survey for you tomorrow about the service provided by music librarians.”

“Hmm, I wonder what percentage of consumers feel the same way. But now I have no idea how to find out.”

“I’m waiting for SurveyMonkey to send me a survey to rate all of the surveys I have received.”

So maybe that’s what is needed: surveys of surveys. We’re fatiguing our customers with inane questions about their experience, and I suspect many customers roll their eyes thinking that even if they complained, no one will care. Although, that being said, hotels have surveyed me in the past and if I didn’t answer a 10 (on a 1-10 scale), I get an email asking what they could have done to have done better. Let’s face it: not every experience is a 10 and worthy of explaining why.

On the plus side, we can learn a great deal from surveys so we do a better job in the future. That’s smart.

And for some marketers, it’s a way to gauge how soon a person might make a new (or additional) purchase decision. With that information, emails, letters, and digital advertising can be deployed, using a nurture marketing strategy, to generate more sales. But there needs to be depth in the survey, so it’s genuine and doesn’t come off as patronizing.

My recommendations:

  1. The purpose of the survey is for your benefit, but the wording must always be all about your customer. Make sure the customer knows what’s in it for them.
  1. Distill your survey down to as few questions as possible. You’ll probably have more completions if it’s short and sweet.
  1. Offer an incentive for participation that your customer can use now. Sure, it’s nice to be entered into a drawing for something, but has your name ever been drawn?

(My new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” is available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore. Or download my free seven-step guide to help you align your messaging with how the primitive mind thinks. It’s titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.” )