Being a second-generation family-owned business is something I’m incredibly proud of. Not only being able to carry on the legacy and entrepreneurial spirit, but to see how much we’ve grown and evolved over the years. My dad started MacKenzie in 1985 from the bonus room of our family home, and it goes without saying that the customer insights industry looked a lot different back then.
To gather a large sample size of customer feedback, the best approach was to print and mail hard-copy surveys. The process took a long time from survey print to data analytics, which meant project scheduling was very important. There was extra focus on survey layout and the number of questions because there was only so much space available on each page. Then, storing and inputting the feedback data as it came in was a mission of its own. Thousands of hard-copy surveys needed to be kept organized and the responses transferred to a digital databank. At the time, these weren’t really seen as problems or challenges. They were just part of the process.
Today, we’re empowered with digital tools and online platforms that have transformed the way we approach customer feedback. In a matter of minutes, anyone can create a free account, build a survey, and reach a global audience. All the heavy lifting is done for us, so we have drag-and-drop programming features and built-in data storage. We know in real-time how many people received the survey invitation and who has submitted their feedback. With a few clicks we can aggregate and segment overall survey results or view the responses of an individual level. Detailed analytics can be exported instantaneously, and findings can be applied on the fly. I’m in awe of such a big transformation in such a relatively short time.
Thanks to technology, customer feedback and data analytics have become standard parts of how businesses operate. As an insights enthusiast, I love to see it. However, the rapid growth of our industry has presented its own set of challenges. As the logistics of gathering customer feedback has become easier, the strategic elements have become more important than ever. Just like anything else, there’s a difference between being able to do it and being able to do it the right way. The ease of using online survey platforms can mask the potential risks and the importance of end-to-end strategies. If business decisions are made based on inaccurate or misinterpreted data, there could be more harm done than good. So, we can’t just take our approach to hard-copy surveys and apply them in the digital world. We need to rethink our entire approach to customer feedback and the way it’s used within our businesses.
Over the next few weeks, I’m excited to share some tips and recommendations for one of the most important aspects of any customer feedback project – survey development. I know, this topic isn’t the flashiest or most thrilling, but that’s why this process is so commonly overlooked. Building an effective and efficient survey is the foundation of a successful feedback project. It ensures the data collected is accurate, reliable, and actionable. It also includes elements of brand alignment, customer experience, and relationship building. As survey platforms make gathering customer feedback faster and easier, it becomes even more important to cover the time and effort needed for survey development.
Check back next week for the first key to effective and engaging surveys!