You know that it's important to get feedback from your customers when you offer a service, or just to check in to see how your brand is performing. So you figured a set and forget automated survey after they hang up, place an order online, or having your customer rep ask if they could fill it out would do the trick, right? Wrong.
Not sure about you, but I get absolutely pounded with these surveys. I'm busy. I barely had time to interact with your business, but now you assume I'm going to take extra minutes to fill out a questionnaire for YOU?
Surveys are a great tool. But as a tactic, businesses need to be both realistic about expectations around them, and strategic when implementing them. Here are some things to consider if you want to start a survey, or you aren't getting the incredibly high volume of survey results that you have been dreaming of:
1) What's in it for THEM? For the reasons of limited time explained above, your customers are not going to take additional time to fill out one of your surveys out of the goodness of their hearts. (The exception to this is usually that the customer was unsatisfied and needs a place to vent about it)
So, what can you do to incentivize your customers to help you out a little bit? Usually finding out what motivates them can be something minor, like a promo code on their next order for a certain % off, or a complimentary services of some kind. If you are serious about investing in understanding your customer's point of view, you should be willing to set aside some budget to find out. Your ROI will be measured by valued insights to how you can improve, and can ultimately lead to time or overall cost savings in the future.
2) Timing. Time your survey request appropriately - typically as soon after you've provided a service as possible. I can't tell you how many times I've hung up with a rep, then three days letter get a survey request on the performance of the company. I can barely remember what I ate for lunch today, you really expect me to recall details of a phone conversation and, again, take my time to answer your questions on it?
If you are asking about eCommerce service, perhaps automate your survey on the product to correspond with their package receipt day. There's lots of ways you can optimize your requests around your customer's schedule to help you get optimal results. And if going along with an offer on point #1, give a deadline (i.e., fill out this survey in the next 24 hours to get free shipping on your next order)
3) Length of survey. We've discussed my time. I'm just not going to sit through a ridiculous amount of detailed questions, scour through a million options in your dropdown menu to complete your survey - especially if there's nothing in it for me.
Consider making a single goal of each survey, so you can be concise with the information you are trying to collect. This would make your survey very basic - so possibly with demographic information (see if you can automate their location by their IP address) and a question or two about what you want to know.. Then, consider tiered surveys for a different after each transaction. Develop a survey communications strategy where you collect different information each time a customer interacts with you to get a full picture of what you are looking to improve upon. Fast, easy, the customer gets a little something - everybody wins.
4) Sophisticated technology. Lastly, nothing kills a survey like bad tech. There are plenty to terrible survey platforms out there. Don't be the company that employs one of them.. All it takes during a customer filling out a survey is a glitch with a form or a button and consider your precious data abandoned. Make sure you are making this experience as seamless as possible for your customer to up your chances for a completed survey.
The Bottom Line: Survey Optimization
Your surveys are just another form of customer experience. Like your marketing, every interaction you have with your customer is an interaction with your brand - so make sure you are taking the time to make sure your feedback request initiatives are reflecting that to your customer. By making the process worth it, easy, timely, fast, and seamless to execute, you will see a dramatic increase in your customer feedback loop.
If you need help developing a plan around gathering company feedback, or would like an objective look with some strategic tips on how you can improve, I can help - ask me how.
We're all there - if I hear the word "millenial" one more time, I think I'm going to scream. Businesses are all about millenials and how to target millenials and what millenials want and how to get millenials to buy. What's interesting is who comes after the millenial - Generation Z (or more fondly to me, my little sister's generation).
After some first hand experience and some reading up on them, I think it's time to start with the lumping of these Z'ers together. By the time companies finally nail down the millenial, a whole new generation is getting through college and just about to enter the workforce.
So who are they?
Roughly born between the years of 1996-2010, this generation has never known a world without the internet or social media. Think about that. Not being the guinea pig generation has left little to their imagination when it comes to adopting new technologies. They engage multiple screens and apps at once, and their first gadget was the smartphone.
Growing up in a world of technological capabilities leaves them little patience for clunky systems or non-intuitive processes. Marketing to this generation means having your act together - whether it's a seamless app or website UX - or you will lose out to a competitor who is putting the customer experience ahead of product features and price.
Gen Z'ers absolutely love Snapchat. While texting and Twitter are still on their horizons, faster is better for this crowd. They want to get a message across, quickly. And they will come to expect the same from the brands they interact with. Don't bother with fluff when it comes to targeted advertising with them - get right to the point on what you have and why it benefits them.
They also want as much transparency as possible, so hiding pricing behind a phone call won't do much good - they are the research generation who has self-educated themselves on YouTube and will just not bother to consider you if it means forced interaction with another human that they don;t want to - most of their relationships are online, anyway. This sounds demanding, but I really think it's the direction marketing & advertising are heading towards.
Wary of the World
They saw the mistakes the millenials made with putting all of their bad choices on Facebook (drunken college photos surfacing during job interviews, anyone?) so they are particularly careful about what they share with whom online. This is where the appeal of Snapchat and Whisper apps come in: they can share whatever they want knowing that it will just disappear.
This is also the post-9/11, 2008-crash, crippling student loan debt generation, who has grown up in a world of terrorism and experienced first-hand the crash of the housing market of their parents and burdens of student loans on their older siblings. They are extremely careful, pragmatic about their futures (less about their dreams and more about education & jobs that will make them money), and are constantly "stressed out" about their uncertain futures. They are also extremely compassionate about their fellow man, the environment, and animal welfare.
The Bottom Line: Marketing to Gen Z
While these are just some observations and generations can hardly be generalized (but I tried, anyway), I think marketing to this crew boils down to some basic principles. For example, really focus on a flawless website user experience and upgrade the look and feel of your website - this means getting off of antiquated web platforms that don't look good on mobile, and getting to the point in your communications without fluffy marketing speak.
Next, focus on being as transparent as possible and putting all your focus on demonstrating trust with this generation: stop hiding behind forms and spamming them with emails - try to reach them on the platforms where they live, but with helpful messaging instead of interruptive. Yes, building relationships takes time, but a loyal Gen Z is a great customer to have.
We've all been there. And we've been on the receiving end. Not just with websites, but with emails, heavily-worded presentations, elevator pitches, the works. Copy like:
"Dynamic integrated solutions provider emphasizing client success and software integrity to optimize and drive business results."
I could jam a few more buzzwords in there, but after reading that bad boy a few times, do you even know what I'm selling?
It's a crime that many companies, across industries, commit. More often then not, positioning is reacting to competitor's statements, or how simple language or being more straightforward may appear to potential customers - especially at the exec level.
But here's the deal. If you want me to do business with you, and I'm clicking around your website to figure out what exactly you do and how you do it, I'm not going to expend mental energy translating corporate speak into human language. At the end of the day, will you help me do my job better? Do you understand my issues? How can you help?
It's an epidemic that I'm hoping is on it's way out, but it's not looking super promising so far - as long as older marketing mentalities continue to sign off on final web copy, email marketing, and other initiatives surrounding outward-facing company content. B2B businesses, and other "boring" industries are especially susceptible to copy-bloat. But they don't have to be - if they are willing to take that chance.
This reminds me of a favorite Seth Godin mentality of mine around putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, believe it was from his book "The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?" It always struck me how scared people are to take something they created and present it up for the world to see, and say "I made this". This is often due to the fact that we are our own worst critic, and imagining the world of possibilities where reactions to what we say could go horribly wrong instead of allowing the "what if they like it?" possibility.
I get it - your brand is on the line. Your reputation. Your employees, your customers. Throwing out the perfectionist guidebook and "how it's always been done" is scary. But what if you took baby steps to shake up your messaging a little bit. What if you B2B folks tried some B2C tactics - because you are after all, marketing to humans?
Some stuff might not work, some stuff might. It's about making your company vulnerable, like actual humans are, and be open to making mistakes and learning from them - because I can tell you that corporate speak websites are NOT resonating with any form of your customer. Are you up to the challenge of figuring out what will?
I'm a motivated, self-starting marketer and working mom looking to make a difference in the world - one story at a time.
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