The first two parts of this series addressed survey objectives and having an action plan for the customer feedback we gather. These topics focused on our surveys being effective. But we need to have the respondents in mind as well. They are actively involved in this process and their experience deserves to be considered during the survey development process. This is where we shift focus to making sure our surveys are as engaging as they are effective. So, the third key in the development process is to keep it relevant.
The main point here is to make sure our surveys cover topics and ask questions about things that actually matter to customers. Of course, we’re gathering feedback to support our own decision-making and achieve our brand development goals. But those decisions should be focused on delivering benefits and value. Those goals should be directly aligned with the wants, needs, and preferences of the audience. So, if our surveys aren’t relevant to those providing their feedback, then we’re missing the mark.
As you’re defining the survey objective, consider if that objective is as important to your audience as it is to your business. As you’re creating the action plan, do so with foresight and explore how the outcome will benefit the customer. If one, or both, of these aren’t clear, it’s a good idea to revisit the purpose and intentions of your project.
It’s also important to remember that we’re asking the customer to put time and effort into providing their feedback. Just as we’re busy people with long to-do lists, so are they. Just as we’re doing our best to be productive in our day-to-day responsibilities, both personal and professional, so are they. We can’t know what’s happening in and around our customers’ lives at the moment they receive our survey invitation. But it’s safe to assume there’s a lot happening. So, it’s important for us to approach them with empathy and respect for the human experience.
Whenever I’m developing a survey, I always try to put myself in the respondents’ shoes. Would I see this request for feedback as an opportunity or an inconvenience? Is it clear how I stand to benefit from putting in the time and effort filling out the survey? Do I feel the brand genuinely cares what I have to say or is my feedback just going to sit on a shelf somewhere?
By dedicating customer feedback efforts to understanding their wants, needs, preferences, and expectations, we won’t have to guess what’s relevant to them. We won’t be conducting surveys just hoping that the topics we cover and the questions we ask matter. We’ll know with certainty that they do because we’ve taken the time to find out. Interestingly enough, asking our customers what is most relevant to them is in itself relevant to them. When they see we’re genuinely interested in learning what they feel is important, they will see it as worth their time and effort.
So, whenever you’re developing a customer feedback survey, take a moment to consider if the topics and questions are as relevant to them as they are to your business. If the answer is no, or you’re unsure, it’s worth stepping back to revisit the objective and action plan. Not only will this ensure your survey produces meaningful results today, but it will also motivate and encourage your audience to participate in future surveys because they know it will be relevant.
Next week, I’ll build upon the topic of engaging surveys. In addition to keeping the topics and questions relevant, we also want to make it an experience.
Each of the five keys in the series are based on my years of experience, training, and genuine passion for empowering brands with meaningful customer insights. Time and time again, they’ve proven successful and they’re important parts of the approach we take here at MacKenzie. If you’re planning a feedback project or just want to learn more about survey development, give me a call! I love this stuff and am happy to chat any time.