Having successfully designed a web-based customer survey, the next step will be that of launching it. Your web-based customer survey is likely to be more successful if it is launched in the right manner. Conversely, your online customer survey may flop if it is not launched in the right manner (even if it is an otherwise well-designed survey).
If a web-based customer survey is launched in the right way, many of your customers will know about it, and they will be inclined to take part in it. On the other hand, if you don’t launch your online customer survey in the right manner, you will end up with a situation where very few of your customers will know about it, and even fewer will be inclined to take part in it. That will in turn lead to a situation where you won’t be able to get feedback from a critical mass of your customers… In the worst case, it will be just as good as if you hadn’t undertaken a customer survey at all.
Now there are 3 key things that you need to do, in the process of launching a web-based customer survey:
- Set up the survey webpage/website: In the process of designing the survey, you will have made a decision on whether you would be running the survey on a webpage that is part of your business’ website, or on a standalone website (set up specifically for this purpose). If you opted for a webpage that is part of your business’ website, you would now need to create it — using HTML, CSS or whatever Content Management System (CMS) you use. It is at this stage that you would need to set up an authentication system, to ensure that only people who are really your customers take part in the survey. So the authentication system would, for instance, entail entering a receipt number, transaction number, store number… and any other such credentials that only your recent customers would have. After that, you would need to upload the customer survey questions on to that webpage, and have a mechanism through which the customers can provide answers to the survey questions. Then you can have a back-end, you know, some sort of database in which the survey question answers received from customers are collated. If, on the other hand, you opted for a standalone survey site, you would need to first register the domain name for it. Then you would need to get a web hosting package for it. After that, you can proceed to set up the survey pages: starting with one where the customers authenticate themselves by entering unique details that only recent customers would have. After that you can upload the survey questions to the website, and provide a mechanism through which the customers can answer them (and a back-end database through which the answers can be collated). Usually, it is companies that have contracted independent survey/research companies to do the customer surveys on their behalf that end up using the standalone websites for the surveys. But if you are doing the survey internally, there would still be nothing to stop you from setting up such a standalone website for the purpose of running the online customer survey. The most important thing is to ensure that the website/webpage that the customers have to visit to complete the survey is one that is accessible in a convenient manner.
- Get your customers to know that you are currently running a survey: Having set up the webpage/website through which you would be running the customer survey, the next step is that of getting the customers to actually visit that webpage/website, and complete the survey. So this is a question of publicizing the survey. To this end, you can have a message, on the receipts you issue to your customers at your stores’ checkout points, encouraging them to take part in the survey. Some people (a good number in fact) do tend to read their receipts carefully, and at least some of them are bound to act on the messages in the receipts encouraging them to take part in the receipt. So the idea is to have a message telling them that you are currently running a web-based survey, aimed at getting feedback from them (as your customers) and telling them to visit such and such a website to complete the survey.
- Encourage your customers to participate in the survey: Getting your customers to know that you are currently running a web-based survey at such and such a website/webpage is one thing. Getting them to actually complete the survey is another matter altogether. It is easy for the customers to take it for granted, unless you actually take the initiative to encourage them to participate in the survey. The simplest way to encourage your customers to participate in the web-based customer survey would be by telling them that the feedback they give would help you serve them better. Another (more effective) way to encourage your customers to complete your web-based survey would be by giving tangible incentives. This is where, for instance, you can tell the customers who would be taking part in the survey that they stand to be entered into sweepstakes upon completing the survey. Those would be sweepstakes where, upon being entered, they would stand chances to win various attractive prices, should they be lucky. You can actually include a list of past winners, so as to encourage more and more people to participate in the survey. Or you can have a discount code offered to the customers who complete the survey, for redemption during their future visits to your stores.
You will know that you have successfully launched a web-based customer survey once you start receiving feedback from meaningful numbers of customers through it. Conversely, if after having the survey running for quite some time you will not have started to receive feedback through it, it would mean that there were hitches in the launch. So what you would need to do in this case would be to re-launch it. This may be a question of making the messages (on receipts) inviting people to participate in the survey more prominent. Or it may be a question of verbally encouraging customers to take part in the survey: like where you instruct your checkout staff to tell customers about the survey and encourage them to take part in it…
In the final analysis, you need to manage your expectations. Don’t expect all your customers who get invitations to take part in the survey to actually do so. But even if just 10 or even 5 percent of your customers take part in the survey, that should be a good enough sample to make inferences as to what the other customers feel.