Today’s interview is with Lee Evans, the Chief Executive Officer & Founder of SurveyMe, a fast, flexible and closed-loop approach to receiving, recording and rewarding ‘Point of Experience’ feedback. Lee joins me today to talk about customer surveys, closing the loop and linking feedback to action.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – Delivering omni channel experiences that create memorable relationships – Interview with Janelle Matthews of Genesys – and is number 190 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.
Here’s the highlights of my interview with Lee:
- Started four years ago, this UK technology firm has grown rapidly and now covers 152 countries.
- SurveyMe focuses on collecting and rewarding feedback at the ‘Point of Experience’.
- Traditional survey methods suffer because there is a significant gap between the experience, when the survey is conducted and any action that could be taken to improve the service.
- One of the things that makes SurveyMe stand out is that they tie in an incremental reward programme for customers that provide feedback.
- Following this type of approach, the highest response rate that SurveyMe’s customers have achieved is 83% (a restaurant). However, the normal response rate range is between 25% and 35%.
- The level of response rate can often depend on how you communicate with your customers and how you ‘close the loop’ with your customers.
- The keys to surveys with high engagement and response rates are 1. keep them short, 2. keep them frequent and 3. keep them interesting.
- Examples of the app in use:
- Lee cites an example of a movie theatre (Pearl Theatres) in Pennsylvania that has used the app to investigate if a small popcorn offer they were considering would work or not. For a $0.22 investment, they got 200 responses and they found out that only 1% of their customers supported the idea. Doing so, saved them an investment of $15,000 in something that their customers didn’t want. Moreover, they also found that whilst 35% of their weekend customers downloaded their app to provide feedback, 100% of those that provided feedback went to their concession stand to claim their reward. Finally, they also found out that for a $0.22 investment they generated a $5.84 uplift in spend at the cinema.
- Lee also cited a major football (soccer) club (Everton FC) in the UK whose challenge surrounded their corporate hospitality, where they knew about the person booking the table but knew nothing about the 9 other guests. Therefore, using the app and an NPS style question they were able to find out more about 5-6 new people per table and who were most likely to be prospective customers. As a result, their sales team were able to download the app data just before half-time and then go and talk to the guests that had completed the survey at half-time. Doing that allowed them to achieve something like a 1,000%+ return on investment on the software.
- Many people are talking about survey fatigue but Lee reckons much of that talk surrounds the continued use of legacy survey methods i.e. email and paper based surveys.
- In fact, many people cite the fact that age stands in the way of the use of mobile apps but that does not match Lee’s clients experience, where one client reports that the majority of their customers are retired and 90% of them are willing to provide feedback via a mobile app if it means that the service and experience they receive improves.
- Lee’s advice for firms thinking about shaking up how they survey their customers:
- Start with a NPS style question as it let’s you know where you are.
- Then ask:
- What’s the one thing we could do, however small, to improve your experience? and
- What’s the one thing that we do, however small, that keeps you coming back?
- The vast majority of businesses really only need to make a series of small changes in order to really please their customers.
- Lee cites an example of how asking those question can prove invaluable insight in practice. The example he used was for a small cafe in a small town, who thought that making their own cakes was their unique selling point. However, when they asked their customers what it was that made them different they found out that it was the Disabled Access Button on their front door that made them special. The reason being was that one of their main groups of customers were young mothers and theirs was the only cafe in town where they could press the button and enter the cafe without letting go of their toddler or pram or both.
- If you can get over the fear of potential criticism then your customers will tell you some amazing and insightful things.
- Simple idea: your customers have already spent their money and invested in you. Why would they not want to tell you how to get better if it helps them and they get rewarded for it too.
- Wow service/experience for Lee is comprised of a series of things:
- Availability and accuracy are dis-satisfiers i.e this is what you need to do to stay in business.
- Partnership and advice is where the Wow opportunity exists and firms should look to build and strengthen their relationships with their customers. To do that, ask your team what three things they would like customers to say about the business and then empower them on the spot to be able to deliver that. Lee cites an experience in shoe shop that embodied the partnership and advice approach that lead to him having a Wow experience.
- Ask yourself: What can we do to make the lives of our clients or customers easier? Download the free SurveyMe app to help you find out.
Lee Evans is Chief Executive Officer & Founder of SurveyMe. Lee describes in his own words how the business came about:
“While working on the shop floor in my niche retail business in 2004, it was easy to get customer feedback while we had one store. We were able to react quickly and deliver our customers exactly what they wanted. But as the operations increased from one shop to five in the first 12 months I found myself getting increasingly distanced from the trading floor and real-time feedback about what my customers wanted, and how we could improve their shopping experience. This is where the idea of SurveyMe was born, although the technology didn’t exist until I saw the iPhone and I knew that apps would be the future.
I knew what I wanted was a customer experience management system where any of my team, anywhere in the business, at any point, could check in on how much our customers were enjoying their precious time with us. More importantly, it would allow us to efficiently respond to our customers’ needs.
In 2008-09 I witnessed so many businesses, that didn’t proactively listen to their customers, fail. By that time smart phone technology had advanced sufficiently for me to translate the idea into a customer experience management tool that is affordable and available to all businesses, so helping them improving their customer experience as I had wanted to when I was growing my retail business.”