Opinions

How follow-up customer surveys fall short

Posted by Mark Penson on January 3rd, 2014 at 9:50 am

What would your impression of a restaurant be if the maître d’ called you two days after you dined to ask how your meal was?

Is your response to an emailed survey about your experience four days earlier going to be as detailed as it would have been if you’d provided your feedback during the interaction?

People get busy, they forget details, and they might not think to look for your survey in their email’s Junk folder.

Make customer insights more insightful.
Asking for in-the-moment feedback proves your commitment to providing a great brand experience. But it also gives you timelier, actionable information.

Imagine hosting a three-day educational event, with presenters teaching their course each day to a different class. One presenter, however, made assumptions about her audience’s knowledge of the subject that left attendees lost. Learning that with a quiz-survey of on Day 1 would allow you to give her the feedback she needs to improve the experience for her Day 2 and Day 3 classes.

Uncovering this deficiency the following week via an email survey would leave you helpless and leave all of her classes confused. Attendees’ satisfaction with your event plummets. And what of the attendees who were supposed to be learning, but didn’t? Will this unacquired information become an intellectual liability? Will they be less competitive? Depending on the industry, could this informational shortfall endanger them or your customers? Are there legal vulnerabilities?

The closer to the interaction, the better the feedback.
If you could ask your customers for their feedback while they’re engaged with your product, service or event—shouldn’t you? What if their feedback could even inform your development or marketing of future products? Would that make getting in-the-moment feedback seem more valuable?

Imagine a food company that attends its industry’s biggest show once a year. The venue is the perfect place to interact with the retailers who carry their products, but also with the customers who eat them. As the food company’s employees engage with both audiences during the show, they give tasting samples of products in the development pipeline. Collecting detailed feedback would be invaluable in terms of color, aroma, taste, mouthfeel…even naming and pricing.

In the past, the employees working the show wouldn’t have a way to convey the specifics of what they thought overall customer satisfaction was until the day after the show ended. Eight hours of feedback, from hundreds of customers…a day later and without a way to record or convey specific complaints, reactions or suggestions. Not the best way to let the new product development and marketing teams know if they’ve got a winner on their hands, or if it’s back to the test kitchen.

Thanks to mobile surveying, this food company’s employees can hand customers a tablet computer with a quick, branded questionnaire about the foods they just tried. With just a few swipes of their fingers, attendees can rate their satisfaction with the foods’ attributes on a numeric scale by answering a few short questions. They can suggest changes and even indicate their intent to buy. Less than a minute later, when they’re finished, each survey respondent’s data is automatically sent and collected in a centralized database that management can access and evaluate instantly, or whenever they want to see it.

What is your customer feedback not telling you?
With mobile surveys, your employees in the field can seamlessly assume an important data-collection role without having to learn a new system, file additional paperwork or write reports. Your customers’ perceptions of your company improve as you give them the opportunity to interact with the latest mobile technology and when they see foods they tasted and evaluated brought to market. Employee engagement is enhanced as you equip them with tools that will help them do their jobs better. And your new products or services will be all the more appealing with actual customer input.

Get real-time feedback at your next event. Even if it’s tomorrow.
Platforms are available to collect data from people while they are interacting with a brand. Designing a mobile survey or quiz on survey tools created for mobile takes less than an hour and can be custom branded. Because you don’t need email addresses for survey attendees, your survey goes live as soon as you’re done creating it. It’s a savvy data collection tool that’s literally ready to go then and there.

For collecting customer data at events, marketers often prefer equipping their show staff with tablets like iPads, preloaded with their customer satisfaction survey. You can also let attendees use their own mobile devices to take your survey. How? Use a survey tool that generates a unique URL and QR code when you create your survey or quiz that you can put on printed materials at the event. Attendees simply type in the URL or scan the QR code, which instantly pulls up the survey.

Brands with products can use the same URLs and QR codes on packaging or in-store signage to solicit customer feedback or engage them with a quiz as they buy or use their products.

Turn in-the-moment feedback into a competitive advantage.
Clearly, business-as-usual doesn’t cut it when it comes to collecting relevant, timely, actionable customer feedback. Especially now that you know that getting in-the-moment insights is actually easier than traditional surveying methods. With no apps for customers to download and with easy templates waiting to help you design your next survey, made-for-mobile survey tools not only make getting information easier; it also makes it much more valuable for your entire company.

2 Responses to “How follow-up customer surveys fall short”

  1. Arthur C. says:

    Great post Mark!

    The other area follow-up customer surveys fall short is when a business creates a poorly designed survey. Tools like "Survey Monkey" are great and they do provide some assistance to those who are not marketing/marketing research savvy. But, it's like many things in life - you get what you pay for. When you put the survey design in the hands of the high school student working a summer job, your survey is not likely to produce the same insight as one designed by a professional. I see too many businesses (mostly small businesses) make the mistake of assuming that anyone can design a survey and/or interpret the results into actionable marketing/customer service tasks.

  2. Mark Penson says:

    Arthur,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I fully agree. A limited number of relevant questions and a fully branded survey makes the difference. It is not the number of questions that makes the difference but it is the relevance of it. Too often you see surveys with the same type of question asked in different ways. We, at Survey Anyplace, talk a lot to our Customers and always advise to keep the survey as short as possible and to make it appealing to the respondent. This is a guarantee for valuable and honest answers.

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