Improving Customer Surveys: Do They Really Help?

- - Business

Everywhere you turn, there’s some type of customer survey that companies want you to take. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just stopped at your local fast-food restaurant, or whether you’ve paid a bill over the phone, you just can’t seem to escape the obligatory customer survey. They attempt to draw you in with promises of winning some type of prize or a free meal for answering a few, simple questions, or they promise that your next experience is sure to be better if you just stop to tell the company how things went this time around. The question is, do all of these customer surveys really accomplish anything, or are they an annoyance that just won’t go away?


In Judith Martin’s Miss Manners column released in January, she writes, “They are violating the first rule of business: Don’t annoy the customer. It is a little bit like having someone around whom you may really like, but the person says, ‘Do you really like me? Do you like me? Are you sure you like me? Really? Do you like me?’ ” Martin states. “And after a while you want to say, ‘No! Go away!’” Even so, despite the annoyances hat customer surveys sometimes bring, many people will still choose to take them if they’re about something that they think is important.


For example, Penfield, NY resident, Heather Williams, is one of the people that usually doesn’t take customer surveys because she feels that companies weren’t paying attention to anything she had to say. This changed when her daughter recently applied to Brigham Young University through the college’s website. After they completed the application, they received a survey request through the mail. Williams states, “It was nice to have someone ask my opinion on the process, which can be very daunting, and I will admit, it was nice to be able to get a free sweatshirt.”


Even though many consumers find customer surveys to be annoying, businesses still have an incentive to keep using them. Demographic and purchase data tells companies who is buying their items, what they’re buying, when they’re buying it, and where they’re buying it from, but it fails to tell why they’re making their purchases, which can be valuable information for a company. Professor Eric Bradlow of marketing, statistics and education at the Wharton School says, “You’re always going to want to understand the consumer psychology: why are people doing what they’re doing.” He believes that surveys, especially the electronic variety, help companies to fix product defects, or they can help to identify rude employees that are driving away customers.


Customer surveys can even be a form of advertising due to something called the mere-measurement effect. Bradlow states, “If I ask you, ‘When’s the last time you bought a taco at Taco Bell?’… you’re more likely to buy a taco at Taco Bell after asking you the survey.” These surveys also work for companies because they are cheap to make, and they essentially put the customer to work gathering the information that companies need. Thanks to the internet, getting surveys to consumers is also quick and easy.


About the Author


Hi, my name is Blair Thomas and I’m a passionate electronics payment expert who started in 2011. My company helps high risk businesses lock down the high risk merchant account they need to do business. Check out the eMerchantBroker YouTube Channel for more info on their services.


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