In spite of what type of business you are whether it be an ecommerce or brick and mortar; surveys are unfortunately one of the most disregarded pieces of intel you aren’t using, yet! After having a very causal conversation with a close friend who’s company does $50,000 a day in business transactions by selling merchandise online, I asked a very simple marketing question when responding to his frustrations with customers who were discontented. I asked, “do you send every customer a survey after they make their transaction? And do you send them a survey if they had a return?” The answer was no, on all counts, and this started to make me speculate. A company this successful, which is a start up mind you, that has amplified their revenue almost overnight, managed to neglect a very uncomplicated yet extremely imperative piece of information in customer satisfaction verification…THE SURVEY! How could this be? To be honest it is more common than you would think and in the most unlikely industries as well. Living in Austin, TX the second Silicon Valley, there are startups everywhere that do not send surveys to customers but it’s not out of laziness, just simply because like all startup businesses, you get busy!
How is it possible for something so vital go unnoticed or untouched?
Simple, success! People don’t question what is going wrong with their business when they are flourishing. However, can you imagine the increase in success if you knew what your clients were happy/unhappy about? Disregarding client intel is the biggest “no no” in business and customer service. When you make a large purchase, whether it is a car, furniture, electronics, you are typically sent a survey. If you are an e-commerce/service industry business and you are not sending out surveys to ALL of your customers, then your marketing plan has gone awry and needs to be re-vamped. This information is so essential to the growth of your business and let’s face it there will be a time when you are not as successful as today and you will be scratching your head wondering why.
Why is this important to my business, I don’t have time or the manpower to send out surveys?
Good! Then pay someone to do it for you! No excuses though, here’s the little inside secret to surveys, they are a genius way to get your customers to vent to you first if something has gone awry during their transaction. Whether they are wrong and you are right, doesn’t matter, it’s all about repeat business and exuding excellent customer service. Surveys give you the opportunity to respond! So when a bad survey comes back, this is your opportunity to shine and woo these clients, and 9 of 10 times they will return if you make it right. Furthermore, do not afford your customers the opportunity to spread it all over the internet with nasty reviews. We know as business owners that we make mistakes and we cannot make everyone happy, but we can sure as hell try. And when you get those 5 star reviews from customers go back to them and ask them to write a review about your business on Facebook, Google, Yelp etc.. By looking for trends on your reviews you can capture the information you need to make your business healthier, whether it is customer service, sales or product, you have the opportunity to listen and they have the opportunity to speak, so respond! Trust me; just like a bad review on the internet, if it goes unreplied to, then you are guilty.
I’ve compiled a list of online survey sites I recommend. Most of these you can generate your own surveys and some will give you suggestions or have existing templates in place for you to choose from. It is a nominal expense for great information about your business from an outsider’s perspective. And always appreciate that these surveys should NOT be used as a witch-hunt, because let’s face it everyone has a bad day, so take that into account and extract the real information about you business and apply this to your day to day operation and annual improvements. Look for trends, answer questions and respond, respond, respond!
Here’s a compiled list of sites:
Create Survey http://www.createsurvey.com/
I like this one because you can link your positive surveys to your social media sites. Plus, they are reasonably priced $800 p/year unlimited responses
Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Like Create Survey they are reasonably priced for unlimited surveys but you an also custom design and keep your branding in tact!
Poll Daddy http://polldaddy.com/
I like Poll Daddy because they are brought to you by the creators of WordPress and who doesn’t love WordPress. Pricing is a little steep but they have more robust package.
You can create a survey through your Google Docs. I personally haven’t used this survey option, but from what I’ve read it pretty sound. If you are a small establishment wnating to save extra money, check out this blog, they will explain step by step how to set up a survey with Google Docs.