Mapping Surveys to the Customer Journey

Human Trap

Avoiding the trap of surveying too early, too late, or too many things at the same time.

Many companies diligently survey their customers and work hard at doing it well. They also aim to keep the disruption for the customer to a minimum by using methods like NPS or CES.

That’s all great.

However, many fall into the trap of surveying too early, too late or they try and survey too many things at the same time. Are they surveying the service received in selling and delivery or the use of the product or service itself? Surveying both at the same time could be confusing, may damage the customer relationship and create a missed opportunity.

I think that if companies took the time to better understand their customer’s journey, they would gain better insight into the experiences they are delivering, garner higher response rates from the surveys they send out, and gain opportunities to stay in touch with their customers.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine I buy a bed from a retailer. The company could be an Internet retailer or a bricks and mortar retailer. These days many big furniture items like beds are made to order because stores don’t carry a lot of stock in an effort to manage cash flow and keep costs down. So, as customers we would normally buy from the store, be informed of the wait time, and then arrange a delivery date. Right?

However, what I have seen typically happen after the company delivers the bed is the delivery driver sends a message to operations or customer service that the bed has been delivered. In turn, the customer service department will then dutifully send out a customer feedback survey, usually by email.

That’s where the problem arises. You see, if we step back and think about it from the customer’s perspective the survey will arrive just after the bed has been delivered. Now, we have to ask ourselves what part of the customer’s experience are we surveying at that point?

There is a danger that the only thing we are surveying at this point is their experience in buying the product and also their experience with having it delivered.

Many firms will go on in that survey to ask the customer if they’re happy with the bed they’ve purchased. At that point, isn’t it too early to tell? That is where I think many companies are missing an opportunity to build better insight to their customers and also a better relationship with them.

I’ve seen this happen many times across a range of industries where companies survey their customers post-purchase but survey them too often and too early.

Instead, I suggest companies split out the part of the survey that pertains with the product and sent that at a later date. It would make more sense from the customer’s perspective, create another opportunity to reach out to the customer, and could also create an additional marketing opportunity.

Are you surveying your customers too early and about too much?

Note: As I have been away for a few days and am in the midst to catching up (almost there) this is a post that originally appeared on the 1 to 1 Media site here.

Thanks to Memkaos for the image.

14 comments On Mapping Surveys to the Customer Journey

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  • Adrian,

    I have a nine-year-old daughter. She is (mostly) delightful, but has a habit of asking questions first and thinking about them second.

    Maybe she will do well in a career in market research?

    Thought provoking post


  • Hello Adrian

    You make a great point. I wonder how many will listen and practice what you are pointing out.

    Time and again I see the same mindset driving similar kinds of behaviour from one company to another. The focus of the survey is driven by the internal mindset and internal needs. An important need is the need to look good: this is a key determinant of who gets the survey, when they get survey, and what is surveyed.

    Does the management of an organisation genuinely want insight into the customer experience? Do they genuinely want to know what it is about their organisations that is getting in the way delivering the kind of customer experience that generates customer advocacy and loyalty? Or are they simply going through the motions serving customers because that’s the thing to do and everyone else is doing it?


    • Hi Maz,
      I think that much of the surveying done is more about ticking boxes than real insight. Also, when I hear talk about statistically significant sample sizes I start to get worried as then it seems to become more about farming numbers than insight.


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