People are tired of surveys! I’m tired of surveys. We are over-solicited with surveys – in store, bottom-of-receipts; online; via pop-ups or post-purchase emails; and, more and more, on our mobile devices. We are experiencing survey fatigue (yep, that is a real thing). Just because you can survey your customers doesn’t mean you should. Surveys are inherently marketer-centric instead of customer-centric. We need. Beth Negus Viveiros shares more effective ways to listen to our customers in her article, Stop Survey Fatigue: Listen to Customers Without Driving Them Away :
- Invite customers to share: The goal is to get as many people as possible to contribute their opinions on your products or brand—but on their terms. Use social media, paid ad campaigns, or even in-store signage to let customers know they can submit feedback any time via your website, mobile site or mobile app. Encourage them to ‘leave a review’ or ‘look for the feedback button’ and invite them to share any and all questions, comments or concerns.
- Keep it short and simple. Customers want to quickly let you know what’s on their minds – not trudge through a lengthy question-and-answer session. Embrace short and concise feedback as the key to insight, collecting feedback wherever your customers are talking (reviews, tweets, Facebook posts, or directly to your brand through digital comment cards). And never get in the way of their site or mobile app experience by popping-up a box asking for their feedback.
- Make sense of the unstructured. Accept that much of what people say online about your brand is unstructured data. These open-ended opinions contain a wealth of information; you just need the right tools to analyze natural language comments to find patterns in the unstructured data.
- Measure what matters most. A lot of customer-centricity efforts get hijacked by irrelevant metrics. We always want data to fit with our assumptions. But in an open-ended feedback program, we have to sit back and listen to what our customers are saying, and then find ways to measure what’s important to them. Continue to revise metrics as customers provide more and more feedback. The ultimate goal is better customer service and better products – not to have databases full of useless metrics.
- Close the loop: acknowledge customers’ contributions. Always make sure to let customers know their voices have been heard. Thank them for their feedback right away. If a customer has a gripe, thank them for their honest feedback and offer to fix the problem right away. If a customer leaves an email address, you can also send follow-up thank you gifts, such as small coupons or discounts, but it’s not always necessary. The most important thing is to acknowledge you heard them.
Don’t alienate your customers by hitting them up for lengthy surveys. Instead, invite them to provide feedback on their own terms to drive engagement, loyalty and sales. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself cut off from the customer voices that are the only sure path to building your brand and business today.