There are certain mistakes that you need to avoid, while running a web-based customer survey. Your web-based customer survey is highly likely to be successful if you avoid these mistakes. Conversely, chances of your web-based customer survey flopping are high, if you make one or more of these mistakes:
- Running a customer survey with too many questions: Chances are that the customers will only be in a position to spare a few minutes, to take part in the survey. Now if you have a survey with too many questions, it is likely to take too long to complete (and on that account, some of your customers will be discouraged from taking part in it). Besides the time factor, you also have to understand that a survey with too many questions looks ‘daunting’. One may feel as if they are being subjected to an examination. This would lead to even more of your customers refraining from participating in the survey. And at yet another level, if you run a survey with too many questions, you will end up with too much data/feedback, which you may not know what to do with.
- Running a survey with wrongly worded questions: If you run a survey with wrongly-worded questions, you will end up getting the wrong answers/answers that don’t tell you exactly what you wanted to know. So it is very important to first figure out what you want to establish from the survey. Then it is very important to frame questions in a manner that is likely to elicit exactly that type of feedback your customers.
- Failing to publicize the web-based customer survey in the right manner: If you don’t publicize your web-based customer survey in the right manner, you will end up with too few customers knowing about it. Consequently, very few customers will participate in it. In the final analysis, you will not have gotten views from a big enough sample of your customers to make any meaningful inferences. So what you need to do here is to have strategies through which you can get as many of your customers as possible to know that you are running a web-based customer survey, and that you’d want them to consider taking part.
- Launching a web-based customer survey without clear objectives: So this is where, for instance, you come to learn that many of the other businesses you are competing with are running web-based customer surveys. You therefore decide to launch yours, just to keep up with the businesses you are competing with. The problem here is in the fact that the customers who will be taking part in the survey will not be in a position to know why it was launched. They will be assuming that it is a genuine survey, designed to collect feedback from them. Yet, in actual fact, it is something you simply did to keep up with the competitors! But then again, someone may argue that the desire to keep up with competitors is a legitimate reason to launch a web-based customer survey. That if you don’t run a customer survey, yet your competitors are running such surveys, the customers may get the impression that you don’t value their feedback (whereas your competitors value their customers’ feedbacks). And that this could lead to a situation where your customers switch to those other businesses where their feedback is valued. Well, such reasoning is sound. But the most important thing is to be clear about the objectives behind your survey. If the objective is just to keep up with competitors (and to show your customers that you care about their opinions, just like your competitors), you should be clear about that, and have it at the back of your mind. So in this case, you wouldn’t really be running the survey with the objective of collecting feedback, but rather, with the objective of just showing your customers that you care about their opinions. Of course, you wouldn’t announce that, but you would have it at the back of your mind… Genuine customer surveys are aimed at actually getting feedback from the customers. They are, in some cases, aimed at knowing whether the customers are getting satisfaction with the way they are being served. In some other cases, the surveys are aimed at getting, from the customers, suggestions on how to improve customer service. We also have surveys that are aimed at knowing how deep the connections between the businesses running them (the surveys) and the customers are… The most important thing is to know what the objectives behind your web-based customer survey are. So, before launching the survey – at the survey design stage — you actually need to sit down with the people who will be responsible for running the survey, and have a brainstorming session on the survey objectives. Only then will you be able to design a customer survey that is aligned with the objectives. Take, for instance, a situation where your survey is aimed at getting suggestions, from the customers, on how they can be served better. In that case, you can have one of the questions in the survey asking the customers to suggest how your business can serve them better. Then you can leave a space, where the customers would key in their suggestions. If, on the other hand, your survey is aimed at knowing the extent to which the customers are being satisfied with the manner in which they are being served, you can have objective answer-oriented questions in line with that objective. So in this case, you can have a system where the customers would rate their satisfaction on a scale (of, say, 1 to 10). But if you don’t brainstorm on the survey objectives, you won’t know how to best design it, and chances are that you will end up bungling it.
- Failing to act on the feedback given by customers in the survey: It is very easy for you to collect a great deal of feedback from your customers in a survey, only to end up not knowing what to do with it! Yet — just think about it — if you fail to act on the feedback given by customers in the survey, the survey would have been more or less a meaningless exercise. Admittedly, acting on the feedback given by customers in the survey often means having to move out of your comfort zone, as a business. Yet you have no option but to do it, if you are to ensure your business’ long-term success.