There is A LOT to be learned by listening to your customers, so it is easy to get carried away when planning a feedback project. We often see brands wanting to cover a variety of topics by planning a long list of questions. The thought is, “while we have them, let’s get all the feedback we can.”
We strongly advise against this approach because while it may seem appealing and effective on the surface, there are a litany of risks and pitfalls along this path which threaten success likelihood.
Rather than cover a variety of customer feedback topics, establish a clear and concise project purpose upfront and hold true to that purpose from start to finish. Of course, there’s room for adjustments and edits as the project plan evolves. This initial step is not meant to be a restricting element, rather it allows for strategic flexibility by acting as a guide to ensure each ensuing step moves toward the ultimate objective. Clarify and commit to a project’s purpose so that adjustments and edits can be made without losing track of why you started the project in the first place.
One reason to keep a clear, concise project objective is avoid respondent fatigue: a symptom of presenting too many questions within a feedback survey. Responses become inaccurate and unreliable because the survey taker loses focus and energy. Keeping survey length to a reasonable number of questions will increase the percentage of complete submissions and it will strengthen the reliability of the feedback collected. With that in mind, the more topics included in the survey, the fewer questions can be used to address each respective topic.
A survey with 15 questions covering five topics will allow only three questions per topic. This may seem sufficient; however, our experience has proven that results from this approach will be too high-level to provide meaningful, actionable insights. By keeping a clear, concise project purpose, those 15 questions can be used to dig deep into one topic and yield the actionable insights needed to make a real difference.
The Big Question: Do you know what customers are thinking and saying about your brand?
To kick off this blog series I feel it’s best to discuss a foundational feedback topic which deserves attention regardless of company size, industry, or strategic objectives: Brand Awareness and Perception. This feedback topic addresses questions around what consumers know about your brand, what they think and feel, and where you fit within their minds among the list of competitors.
As a well-known and straight-forward customer feedback topic, brand awareness often gets overlooked and decisions in this area are then made based on assumptions or best guesses. Gathering awareness feedback can feel less exciting than other areas, but it serves as the backbone for broader and more detailed customer insights projects.
When asking if a consumer is aware of your brand, the line of ensuing questions will branch off depending on their answer. For consumers who are not aware of your brand, you can establish details about the direct and indirect competitors who currently have their attention. You can also explore consumer behaviors such as media consumption to identify their preferred communication channels and adjust your marketing strategies to maximize your brand messaging reach.
For consumers who are aware of your brand, you can dive deeper into their perceptions, thoughts, and opinions. Establishing how you are viewed today will help guide strategic decision making and take your brand where you want it to be in the future. This perception feedback will also provide the insight needed to assess marketing effectiveness. By comparing the intended impact of marketing against the consumer’s perception, you will establish whether specific brand messaging campaigns are getting the job done.
Things to know – Awareness:
Are consumers within the ideal target market aware of your brand?
How much do consumers know about the products/services you offer?
Where do target consumers spend most of their time online or consuming media?
Who are the top performing competitors within your market?
Things to know – Perception:
Which words or feelings do consumers associate with your brand?
Where is your brand positioned within the market overall and among top competitors?
Are your marketing messages having their intended impact on their intended audiences?
In what ways do consumers view your brand as different than others within the industry?
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing ideas and recommendations for a variety of customer feedback topics with hopes it will provide guidance for you next project. As always, I’m happy to chat further about any of these topics and would love a chance to hear what you’re working on. Feel free to give us a shout any time!