Your Opinion is Very Important to Us (really)

Like many businesses and households, I’ve been shopping a lot on line, and not just on CyberMonday. After the checkout or in the confirming email, we’ve also noticed a proliferation of “customer satisfaction” surveys.

The Stones still have this one nailed:

Neither you nor your customers will get satisfaction, if you imitate many of the ham-handed requests for feedback, which increasingly follow online ordering.

It is now very easy, and often free, to create a web, mobile, or email survey or feedback form with tools from bizrate, SurveyMonkey, SurveyTracker, and many many others. The ease of creation is perhaps part of the problem.

In principle, gaging the quality of your customer’s experience is desirable. But not at the expense of creating a poor experience. The effort to add an extra question or page of questions of nice to know information is negligible. Since you have your attention, you might be tempted to ask you about other suppliers, products they didn’t buy, or try to sell them something else. Don’t.

Incredibly firms, whose web sites enable a customer to find and buy a product in 2 or 3 clicks ask the same customer to spend ten or more extra minutes completing a satisfaction survey.

Four Ways To Irritate Your Customers:

I’ve seen multiple examples of all of these in the last two weeks:

  1. The Long String-Along. Unless you have a deeper relationship with your customer and are compensating them in some way keep it short. Avoid pile on “nice to know” questions. Sending your respondents to a survey with a continue button at the bottom of the page, and the following page, etc. can lead to the customer abandoning the survey or speeding through it and giving unconsidered responses.
  2. Require answers to all questions, regardless of whether they may pertain to a given customer or your offerings. For example a seller of camping equipment included questions about categories it does not and never has sold.
  3. Require identifying information, such as an email address. If you want to identify a respondent, offer to send them some sort of tsatske. You’ll have to mail it to them and hence need contact information. Of course, this does not give you the right to pester them.
  4. Over Quantification. You are an expert on your product and believe you can distinguish nuances such that a 10 point rating scale makes sense. This pseudo-precision not only makes your surveys difficult to read, it also reduces the reliability of your results.

Instead keep your interaction to what fits on a postcard. Or shorter. Ask less upfront and you will learn more as well as keep the goodwill of your customers.

I recently had to call the tech support line of my ISP. I was asked if I would stay on the line to rate the service I had just received. It consisted of a single automated question – rating the service on a five point scale with a single press on the phone keypad.

Now I got satisfaction.