Surveys are taking over the world. They clog people’s email inboxes, appear frequently on websites and, more recently, pop up in tweets. They’re even there when you sit down to eat dinner, nagging you through robocalls.
But in a world where customers are demanding a more meaningful relationship with the companies they do business with, are surveys still relevant and useful?
That’s the topic of No Spam Surveys: Why Empowered Customers Aren’t Answering Your Questions, and How You Can Win Them Back, a new ebook authored by Scott Miller, CEO of Vision Critical. The ebook, released today, outlines why customers hate surveys and argues why insight communities are a better way of engaging with customers and gathering customer intelligence.
Customers today want companies to listen. They support customer-centric brands. They want to feel like they’re being heard. But traditional, ad-hoc surveys don’t help companies become customer-centric because they don’t allow for a two-way conversation. Ad hoc surveys have become impersonal at a time when customers want more intimacy, says Miller, adding that unwanted surveys should be considered spam.
What are spam surveys?
Spam surveys have the following characteristics:
- They appear out of nowhere, uninvited and, most often, unwelcome.
- They are impersonal and generic, not connected to the data or experiences of the individual customer.
- They are overly long because they ask repetitive, profiling questions. They don’t respect the time and effort required of the customer.
One clear indication that customers have grown tired of spam surveys is the plummeting response rates. According to OpinionLab, 80 percent of people abandon a survey halfway through. In 2014, the Pew Research Center received a response rate of just nine percent—a steep decline from 1997’s 36 percent.
The solution to the declining response rate isn’t to send more spam surveys. Customers are more likely to participate if they feel like their voices are being heard. Customers want to know what’s in it for them. They want to know why they matter.
In the ebook, Miller says the era of the traditional survey is over. To survive and thrive, businesses need new tactics and techniques that yield more intimate, more granular and more human insight.
Make no doubt about it: Your customers want you to become more customer-centric. The empowered customer wants to feel invested in the businesses that he or she patronizes. But in order to thrive, companies need to gather customer intelligence in a way that allows them to talk to their customers, make intimate connections, analyze insight and close the loop with the people who gave them feedback.
As Miller says in the ebook, “Whatever your method for developing ongoing, meaningful relationships with your customers, be it an insight community or some other technology, the time for throwing out the spam survey is here. It’s up to you to take the next step.”