This fifth and final part in my survey development series isn’t about closing the door on a customer feedback project, it’s propping the door open for both short-term and long-term benefits with an open feedback loop. But before we get into that, here’s a quick recap to freshen your memory.
We started with defining our survey objectives to make sure our efforts are targeted, purposeful, and goal oriented. Then we built our action plan which clarified the topics and questions our survey needed to address. From there, we shifted focus to making sure our surveys are engaging by keeping them relevant and considering the respondents’ experience. All these pieces build upon each other and tie together, which underlines the point that survey development is more than just typing questions and sends invite emails. It’s a strategic process that, when given the attention it requires, will greatly increase your chances of success.
As a quick warm-up exercise, think back to the most recent feedback survey you submitted as a consumer. More than likely it was taken online. You received an invitation email or went to a website and clicked a survey link. You answered a series of questions, reached the final page, and clicked submit. What happened next? Maybe a “Thank you for your submission” message or something like that popped up. But, then what? Did anything end up happening with your feedback? Is it actively being used, or is it buried in a data file somewhere along with thousands of other responses? For me, I have no idea. I clicked submit and that was the end.
I guess this is what some brands consider to be closed-loop feedback. But as a consumer, it felt more slammed shut than closed. Seems anticlimactic if you think about it. They put in the effort to develop the survey. I put in the effort to provide my feedback. Then, it just sort of fizzles out with an automated “thank you” message. Seems like a missed opportunity to keep consumers engaged and really bring them into the brand development process, doesn’t it? Well, it feels that way because it is.
Rather than having the end of a survey be the end of the communication line, follow up with further details about the project and how their involvement is making a difference. In addition to the “thank you” pop up message, program an email to be sent sharing details about what’s going to happen next. While you don’t know specifics since the results are still coming in, you did create an action plan during the survey development process, right? Sharing a few of those details will not only validate the importance and value of their feedback, but it also extends and strengthens their engagement with your brand.
Going a step further, reach back out after the feedback project is complete. Highlight a few key findings and outline one or two ways the resulting insights are being applied within the business. Show customers you heard what they had to say and that their voices are truly making a difference. Again, this strengthens their engagement and extends their interaction with your brand. It also serves as motivation to participate the next time you ask for their feedback. They’ll know how much you care and feel it’s worth their time and effort completing your survey.
Now, let’s revisit your most recent experience completing a customer feedback survey. Think how great it would feel to know with certainty that your input was not only received but was making a difference. Imagine you’re shown results from that survey and given details about how those results are being applied. That would be pretty cool, huh? Well, we have the opportunity to do that for our customers. Rather than closing the feedback loop, keep it open and maintain ongoing dialogue. This may not play an immediate role in the survey development process, but it should be included as one of the reasons for gathering feedback to begin with. Bringing customers into the brand development process not only benefits our brand, it benefits our people as well through the best-in-class products, services, and experiences it enables us to deliver.
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.
Here are links to the five articles of this series:
Part 1 – Know Your Objectives
Part 2 – Have an Action Plan
Part 3 – Keep it Relevant
Part 4 – Make it an Experience
Part 5 – Maintain the Feedback Loop