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.” )

Author: Gary Hennerberg

Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.

One thought on “Wanted: Surveys of Surveys”

  1. Thank you for raising awareness of this uber annoying behavior! Brands are so focused on customer satisfaction goals (a good thing) and having a number to PROVE satisfaction is high (net promoter score) that they fail to take into account our dissatisfaction with being pestered at every interaction.

    I recently gave a brand a low satisfaction score because the questionnaire was so invasive and so poorly organized. In ther comments section after “What could we do to improve?” I wrote “Stop sending me surveys!”

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