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Survey Says! Does Polling Even Work?

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Somewhere in the three-foot long receipt you got at the pharmacy is a little note asking you to dial a number to take a brief survey to put yourself in the running to win some sort of prize. Chances are, you’ve thrown away that receipt or stowed it away somewhere. What's even the point of them?

But just like the “Buy One Get One Free” and “50% off” coupons that survey shared receipt paper with, customer surveys are a little piece of marketing that sticks around even as times change. You might be thinking to yourself, what's the point of all this?

Surveys can help you better understand your clients and the services you provide.

This is especially true if you’ve been around for a while and your products and services have had time to grow and evolve. As a business owner, you should make every effort to learn as much about your business as possible, and #customer feedback and surveys can help.

Don’t rule out finding out some good news! Maybe there are hidden services you provide that you don’t really think of that have a positive impact on the customer. You might be surprised what people are willing to share, and what little things might make a difference.

To that point, customers do value when a business gives them the ability to provide feedback. It shows them that you don’t just care about their business; you care about them, their experience, and their needs.

All that being said, there is a very fine line to walk when creating surveys for customers. You leave yourself open to unhelpful feedback that only represents a minority of your base - or maybe even just one person.

While you should always consider customer feedback, you also need to be careful not to overemphasize any single opinion. You don’t want to be the business owner that wastes times rearranging their furniture in their showroom just because one person didn’t like the Feng Shui.

Don’t make it hard for people to spend money with you.

Customers also have more recently expressed frustration with customer surveys as their popularity has grown. People have become particularly sensitive to long surveys and invasive surveys (like surveys that might pop up on websites somewhere around checkout). People tend to be less honest in long surveys, especially as they go on, and will even stop responding midway through.

According to a poll on OpinionLab, more than half of people asked said they would not like to take a survey that’s more than three minutes long. As helpful as surveys could be, you don’t want them to cause a potentially negative experience for your customer by offering them.

A study by Vision Critical showed that more than 80 percent of people want to have a say in the future of a company that they spend money with. Providing surveys and other means to offer feedback can help you learn more about your customers and clients, and can also help them feel more connected to you. Just be careful not to overdo it.

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