Written by: Larry Goodfellow
Let’s Talk More than Once a Year
If there is general agreement that obtaining customer input on your business is critical, why do so many companies have trouble with the execution of obtaining that information? I was reminded of this after reading a recent article entitled, You only get one chance to talk to customers, right? The author, Matt Champagne does a tremendous job explaining the common errors that organizations commit when it comes to creating a survey. Like any company, customer feedback is crucial to creating new products, and improving existing products or services. The problem is that surveys are often seen as something that happens only once a year. By restricting customers to providing input only once a year, and with members of the organization often desperate to obtain feedback for their own department, may result in random questions being asked. Champagne states that this clearly violates the rule that states a survey should focus on a single purpose and create questions around that single point. Organizations need to understand that by creating smaller, more frequent conversations with their customers they are more likely to get better, more consistent feedback. We believe that a market research online community is a great place for these frequent customer interactions to take place.
Companies that create one big survey a year often don’t realize that their customers are being inundated with requests to fill out surveys all of the time. Now combine that with the fact that if your survey contains random questions, and/or a lot of questions, the chances are low that your customers will take the time to fill it out. Champagne writes, “And yours will be ignored because it has too many purposes. Don’t make your surveys a single event and you will avoid the multiple-purpose error.” However, these are not the only reasons why your survey can fail to capture your audience.
Focused Questions Equal Focused Findings
Champagne writes how when companies create a “survey of the year” it often jumps from topic to topic, and each section contains a different writing style due to the fact that each department was given a section to write. This is compounded by questions being added at the end relating to vital marketing information, such as salary and demographic information, all of which throws off the respondent. The article cites, that when individuals have filled out information and then reach the middle or end of the survey and are then asked for demographic questions, such as age, race and salary, the respondent may begin to wonder whether their answers will be discounted or emphasized based on their demographic. Champagne writes, “some will stop to consider the true purpose of the survey and think: “Will they treat my answers differently now that they know I am a 26-35 year old Caucasian male?” “Will they discount or emphasize my answers depending on how I am categorized?” Once respondents start questioning your motives, your response rate will plummet.” If you want to play the long game, you need to be transparent with your surveys.
An Online Customer Community
A great way to avoid the pitfalls that Champagne writes is to create a community composed of your customers. This allows your company to gather focused, regular customer feedback. By having a solid, steady flow of customer feedback coming in, you can take Champagne’s suggestions to heart. With market research online communities we help companies come up with 3-4 questions a week all centered on a single point. This keeps the information reliable, and provides depth of scope. Respondents are free to answer without feeling stopped midstream, and can understand the reasoning behind asking 3-4 questions around a specific idea. We also offer mobile optimized communities, for the convenience of your customers. You want to project your company as consistent, informed, and being diligent with everything you do. By doing this, a customer can tell that they are being taken seriously.
If your company would like to talk more about how we can create a steady stream of customer feedback via surveys or market research communities please feel free to contact us.
Check us out on LinkedIn!