June 13, 2012 | The XM Blog

Survey Says!


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ForeSee is the furthest thing from a simple survey company, but we sure do talk about them an awful lot. And while our clients know that our surveys are just the tip of the iceberg, for a lot of people, all they see of ForeSee are our surveys.

But here’s the reality: surveys suck! Did we really just say that? Most of them take too long. A lot of them are designed to secretly sell you stuff, or figure out how to sell you stuff. Nobody wants to take them.

Unless surveys are relevant and respectful (and constructed and analyzed with the right methodology), they typically don’t tell us what we want or need to know to help businesses grow. And because so many surveys suck, we need to talk about them.

The late, great Richard Dawson was the host of the original Family Feud. He would bellow,” Survey Says!” as contestants, audience members, and viewers would anxiously wait for the answer to a randomly irrelevant question to appear on the board if a contestant managed to guess correctly. If they were wrong, a giant [X] blocked out the screen and an irritating buzzer sound filled the room.

This silly game mirrors the real survey world sometimes – not because of how consumers’ answer questions to surveys, but because of the surveys themselves.  Many of the surveys we see today often miss the mark and deserve to be ‘x-ed’ and buzzed and a myriad other things for being irrelevant, not respectful, and misleading.

Surveys are tools. We can basically split them into two categories: Marketing surveys and Research surveys.

Marketing surveys are exactly what they sound like; they are for the purposes of marketing.  When a company asks you to answer a few questions they then use your answers to market to you, or sell your information to other companies that will market to you.  The Marketing survey is basically a front for lead generation so companies can target you in order to sell more stuff.

On the other hand, Research surveys are done for the purpose of gathering information for the purposes of research and to gain intelligence.  There are two types of Research surveys: those that are relevant to the experience the consumer is having, and those that are not.

A non-relevant survey would be one where you go to a site where the demographic is for men between the ages of 40 and 50 and you get a survey about a product or issue that might be of interest to that demographic, or that demographic is of interest to the company behind the survey, but not relevant to the experience the consumer was having – visiting the site.

A relevant Research survey is focused on the experience the consumer is having.  That’s the ForeSee way. Relevant Research surveys are (or should be) very respectful as well. The survey isn’t asking for personal information and it’s taking up very little of your time in most cases. It’s fast, precise, and leaves you with a sense that your input will help make the experience better.

The key difference is that the survey is appropriate to the user because it is about the experience they are in as it is happening. And the value of that is that the company is going to use the intelligence to make the experience better for the customer in the future. We encourage our clients to pay attention to length—not all do—but we’ve found that when the surveys are relevant and respectful, people don’t seem to mind investing a few minutes. Why would they want to make the experience better?

We know, and we’ve proven, that if you improve the experience and improve satisfaction with the customer experience it’s going to drive more loyalty, more purchase intent, and more recommendations – all key success indicators that drive the bottom line of a company.  Now there’s incentive for the company to improve the satisfaction with the customer experience, and there’s a payback to the consumer to provide that information because they are going to get a better experience.

There has been a lot of recent talk about survey fatigue. And it’s a real issue to an extent because people are getting bombarded with surveys that are not relevant and are not respectful. This, unfortunately, gives all surveys a bad reputation. Marketers also seem to forget that consumers are pretty smart and they catch on pretty quick – they know when they are being marketed to and when the survey is relevant.

So, for the record, ForeSee is NOT a research company and we’re not a survey company. We just happen to be a technology company that uses relevant surveys as a tool to gather precise and predictive analytics to help lead companies down a road of financial success. It’s a tough distinction, but an important one.

So, out of 100 people surveyed, which company leads the way in customer experience analytics? Survey says . . . !

Categories: ForeSee Products

About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, Verint delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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