Being in marketing, I always fill out online customer surveys. Besides giving me ideas for good techniques we can use at the agency, surveys are a way to help companies improve customer service and retention.
Or, surveys can drive customers right into the arms of a competitor.
Here are some of the major problems I’ve experienced with customer surveys. Any additions? Please share your thoughts in comments!
1. Bad Mobile Design
Don’t companies realize people fill out surveys on their mobile phones? When selection buttons and text are microscopic, the odds of a customer completing the survey are similarly small.
2. Too Many Questions
Recently a company sent me a survey with (no kidding) 20-plus pages of questions about specific product features. In addition to hundreds of repetitive, limited response selections, the survey wanted free-form comments relating to seven or eight categories of features. I made it to page 10 or 11, and gave up.
If a company really wants customers to put in that much effort, it needs to give something of comparable value to make it worth the customers’ time.
3. Response Options That Stifle Communication
Suppose you have a problem with a product or service that doesn’t fit into the options on the customer survey. Frustrating! Every survey should have a general comments option — “Tell us whatever is on your mind” — to make sure customers can communicate anything that’s bothering them.
Marketers sometimes get too fixated on their survey goals and forget that customers don’t care about the sender’s goals — they care about their own problems.
4. No Follow-Up, No Follow-Through
There’s a place I do business where the same aggravating issue has been going on for over a year. I’ve expressed my aggravation in three customer surveys, including a request for a personal response. Despite the input, which the company solicited, there has been no response and no change in the situation.
When completed surveys fall on deaf ears, they take a bad situation and make it a hundred times worse. If a company doesn’t have efficient follow-up and follow-through processes, it shouldn’t send out customer surveys, period.
5. Asking for Too Much Personal Information
Surveys that are merely tactical maneuvers to get personal information inspire me to do business elsewhere. Frequently, this type of survey asks for your personal information as the final step before submission — I guess they think if respondents have already gone to the trouble of thoughtfully communicating their opinions, they’ll be more inclined to hand over one’s mobile phone number, ethnicity, age, shopping habits, personal income, investment goals and credit card numbers.
Over to You
What customer survey techniques do you think do more harm than good?