Helping Win Hearts & Minds on
the Battlefields of Online Media

Use "Smart" Surveys for Customer Feedback

    If your business provides a major service, it's a good idea to survey new customers as soon as possible after they've received your service. You need a feedback vehicle to measure and understand customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. A survey is an important customer relationship management (CRM) tool early in the customer lifecycle.

    A survey can also be a reputation management tool. If there's an unhappy customer, you want to find out quickly, so that you might intercede before they start slamming you online. More positively, if you have an exuberant customer, you could reach out to them for a testimonial, case study, or perhaps to encourage them to review you online.

    The challenge is that consumers are reluctant to take surveys because they are inundated with survey requests. In addition, so many surveys are inappropriately long or just inappropriate in what they ask. Given the diversity of possible experiences, the one-size-fits-all survey does not work. It turns off (i.e., further annoys) the really unhappy customers you most need to hear from. And you get nothing of value from your happiest customers (because everything is great).

    Following is an example of a smart survey that meets a company's information needs while minimizing the burden on the customer. This approach is practical for being actionable. It immediately identifies three basic customer situations, and then only asks what is appropriate for each:

    • Customers that had a very negative experience. Without frustrating them further, we want to know there's a problem, and hopefully get the opportunity to speak to them as soon as possible and stop their experience from spreading over into the public domain with negative reviews and blog postings.
    • Customers that had a very positive experience. Without wasting their time, we want to see if they like us enough to help us with testimonials and reviews.
    • Customers who had a fairly neutral experience (slightly flavorable or unfavorable). This is most appropriate for detailed rating questions. We do not want to ask these customers for reviews (a common problem with automated review-promotion software systems).

    We created the following survey for a moving company client we disguise with the name Heebie Jeebie. Try each of the four customer-experience options provided below.

    Please Tell Us Your Experience with Heebie Jeebie

    Thank you for choosing Heebie Jeebie Storage & Moving co. for your recent move. We appreciate your business as well as your opinion. Be assured, we will not waste your time. This survey will not ask irrelevant questions and may take as little 30 seconds to complete.

    Your responses will be reviewed and evaluated carefully. And if our performance in any area falls short of your expectations, corrective action will be taken.