Superficial Surveys

Surveys of customers are getting a bit out-of-hand. Every time you turn around, you’re being asked to take a survey, whether it’s at the grocery store, dentist office, when you buy a car, or make an online purchase.

It’s becoming too much. 

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook: “My rabid dislike of surveys is no secret -- my dentist recently sent me a survey after a 15 minute consult. Today, my bank sent me a survey for a 5 minute check deposit transaction at an ATM. This is very annoying.”

My friend’s Facebook comment opened up a litany of snark such as:

“I’ll have a survey for you tomorrow about the service provided by music librarians.”

“Hmm, I wonder what percentage of consumers feel the same way. But now I have no idea how to find out.”

“I’m waiting for SurveyMonkey to send me a survey to rate all of the surveys I have received.”

Add in the inevitable surveys during election season, and consumers are burning out. Making the problem worse is that sometimes a “survey” is a sales approach in disguise and it becomes bait and switch.

On the plus side, we can learn a great deal from surveys so we do a better job in the future. That’s smart.

And for some marketers, it’s a way to gauge how soon a person might make a new (or additional) purchase decision. With that information, emails, letters, and digital advertising can be deployed, using a nurture marketing strategy, to generate more sales. But there needs to be depth in the survey, so it’s genuine and doesn’t come off as patronizing. 

My recommendations:

  1. The purpose of the survey is for your benefit, but the wording must always be all about your customer. Make sure the customer knows what’s in it for them.
  2. Distill your survey down to as few questions as possible. You’ll probably have more completions if it’s short and sweet.
  3. Offer an incentive for participation that your customer can use now. Sure, it’s nice to be entered into a drawing for something, but has your name ever been drawn?

Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.