I recently saw the headline of an article on MyCustomer.com called: The Deadzone: Why customer surveys are dead. Having a keen interest in customer service and experience, I was intrigued by the headline so I headed over to take a closer look.
In the article, the Chief Marketing Officer of Clarabridge, Susan Ganeshan, argues that:
Companies know that surveys were effective in the past, and so they adopted this CX strategy online expecting similar results. In the age of instant gratification, though, people are no longer willing to “just take a moment” to fill out a survey.
She goes on to support her statement by quoting Forrester saying that:
response rates are as low as 2% and rarely ever reach 20% anymore.
That’s pretty damning evidence on the effectiveness of customer surveys.
However, whilst the article raised some interesting questions it also made me wonder how it is that some companies still achieve much, much more with their customer feedback surveys and much higher response rates.
Personally, I don’t agree that surveys are dead. In fact, I think that they are very much alive. Yes, there is probably quite a lot of survey ‘fatigue’ amongst many customers but there are also some other underlying causes that explain the poor performance of many customer surveys.
Here are three big reasons why customer feedback survey approaches don’t deliver the returns that companies want and some examples of firms that doing things differently and seeing the benefits:
These examples show that surveys aren’t dead and can be very powerful when done well. They also show that lazy and selfish thinking on the part of companies is the real problem i.e. designing surveys for their own benefit, to fit into their own processes and for their own convenience.
If you ask customers, many of them do want to give feedback, particularly to the firms that they like. But, the challenge is that they want to do it in an easy and timely fashion and in a way that works for them and allows them to tell you what matters to them.
So, if you want to ask for customer feedback and you want to give yourself a good chance to receiving of receiving useful and actionable feedback that also impresses your customers then get out of their way and let them speak. But, do it simply, do it promptly, do it freely and make sure that you act on it quickly.
This post was originally published on my Forbes.com column here.