Marketing Sherpa released a case study about using surveys to track leads and keep them from getting lost. Which is great. Then, of course I thought, shouldn't your marketing automation system be doing that?
But that's a conversation we'll skip today. I began to think about all the surveys I get in my Inbox. I'd guess that more than half of the time I exit a survey without finishing it. Don't you?
Surveys are either too long, require too much work or make me feel bad.
I bought a new car last week and part of the process was my dealer telling me that I HAD to answer "excellent" on everything or not to fill out the survey I'd receive a month from now. Then they offered me a nice accessory if I bring it back to them so they can return it to their manufacturer. Boy, I bet those are valuable! Plus, I'm already dreading getting the dang thing. And it's a shame, because the experience was great, I liked my salesperson, the financing was a breeze and the car is magnificent. I probably would have given them mostly high marks, but now that I've been told I have to, well, um, hmm... Not feeling like it.
I received a survey from a hotel I stayed in recently, loved the experience, so I decided to take the survey. By the time I got to question 34, I was exhausted and the experience didn't look so shiny to me anymore. Plus, there was a "next" button at the bottom, so who knew when it might end? Never finished.
Let's look at surveys from companies we don't buy from. Think about the tone. Have you ever noticed they're negative? If you chose not to buy a product they give you a list of possibilities of why not, most of them bad. I spend my time looking for the least offensive option, unless of course they gave me a bad experience. But, those are the companies that never give you a text box option to tell them what you really think.
Now, let's turn the tables. What if you got a survey that made you feel good? That was actually a great experience and left you "liking" the last interaction you had with a company--even if you didn't buy from them. What if they asked a question about why you bought somewhere else and the options to select from were things like:
- My experience with the other company was awesome!
- They followed-up often, with information I found valuable.
- I loved that they paid close attention to me during all phases of the sale.
- They anticipated that I'd need add-on products.
- They gave me a mega discount.
Not only would I enjoy taking a survey with fun options to select from that made me feel good about my choice, I'm likely to remember the experience and keep that company in mind for next time. They'll definitely stand out from the crowd. I'd probably even tell people about it.
Here's the good part. Think about what marketing can learn from answer choices like those.
If it's the experience, maybe you have a text comment box for them to elaborate. Wouldn't it be nice to know what the competition is doing that you're not?
If it's the follow-up, go look at how you're following up with your leads. If you're following up, re-assess the relevance of your communications.
If it's the close attention paid, look at the frequency of interactions you have with your leads. Maybe you're being a bit too removed.
If it's the add-on products, you're missing the boat on cross-sell and up-sell education and nurturing. Showing leads how products interact with other products and extend capabilities is a big opportunity to prove value to your leads. A complex purchase is usually not about just the buy. It's about what happens after they decide to buy.
If they're response is the discount, then it's pricing. If you're in a commodity market, this may be something you need to address. If you're not, then that may be an indication that the customer wasn't a good fit for you. Which is good to know.
Patterns of answers over time also help you highlight trends and catch changes in the experience your competitors are offering.
The point is that you can learn all kinds of interesting things from surveys. But who thinks about the experience of the survey taker? Maybe if we thought more about that, we'd be able to re-engage leads at a nice clip, while at the same time learning valuable insights that help us serve all our leads and customers better experiences.