MightyMerchant

Customer Contact Through Surveys

Image Customer Contact Through Surveys
By Vanessa Salvia, 9/27/07

Constant Contact recently announced their new Listen Up! Survey tool. This is an easy to use survey template with pre-set questions that you can readily modify. The tool allows you to send an invitation to your survey through email, or place a link on your site inviting participants.

Why Surveys?

As you may have discovered, it is only the very vocal customers you hear from, and then usually only the ones with something negative to say. With surveys everyone gets a chance to share their opinions, because you are going to the customer rather than waiting for the customer to come to you. No customer is going to email you and ask if you have an opportunity for them to provide you with their buying habits and opinions! Surveys allow you to extend that invitation with a quick, easy and painless way for customers to share their opinions.

Constant Contact has all the question and answer possibilities covered—their options allow respondents to select only one answer or multiple answers, rate selections on a scale, and leave comments. You can use their comprehensive templates on such topics as customer satisfaction and service, new product testing, or website feedback. And if you don’t like their questions, easily edit to make them your own.

You can work in a local component with your survey. For instance, if you have several customers in Boston, you could ask them which newspapers they read. If several customers subscribe to a certain magazine or newspaper, wouldn’t it be nice to secure an interview with that newspaper, or pay for a print ad, knowing you would reach many more potential customers? Or, find out what websites your customers like to haunt. If they all like FoodNetwork.com, there’s your ad focus right there. Surveys give you that kind of power.

The demographic information you obtain can help you in including an ad or coupon in Google’s local business search. Log into the Local Business Center at Google Maps to enter in coupon information. (See the July 2007 SiteBeat for more about taking advantage of Google’s Universal Search, which encompasses local search, video, news, and more topics.)

Successful Surveys

First of all, find your focus. Establish the goals of your survey. What do you want to learn? A rambling, non-cohesive survey with no point is going to be a major turn off, so spend some time figuring out just what you hope to achieve with the survey.

Once you narrow that down, you can determine what segments of your list you want to email it to. Is this a survey for all of your subscribers, new customers only, or only those who have ordered a certain product?

Now you are ready to create your questionnaire. Check out Constant Contact’s sample survey questions to get a feel for the type of questions you could ask.

Effective Use Of Surveys

Consider bundling your survey with some kind of incentive. Your rate of completion will probably grow if you tell people up front that they will get something. You can also reward your loyal survey takers with bonus incentives throughout the year.

Keep the survey short, at ten to fifteen questions, max. At the end, leave an open-ended question like, “How can we do better?” Constant Contact lets you include a spot for comments with every non-open ended question.

If someone buys a new product from you, give them a couple of weeks to use it, then send them a short “how do you like it” survey. This is a great way to harvest success stories for your “rave reviews” page.

If someone contacts customer service, send them an email a couple of days later inviting their feedback. This is an ideal time to ask how long it took them to get through to customer service, if their problem was resolved satisfactorily, and how promptly it was resolved.

If you are sending the survey to everyone on your list, consider reporting on the results in your next newsletter. Many people like seeing where their answers fall in with everyone else’s. What, no newsletter? We’ve got lots of information about marketing through email newsletters here and here.

Surveys are versatile, powerful tools. How you harness that power is up to you, but putting them to your use is easier than ever.

About MightyMerchant

MightyMerchant specializes in developing e-commerce and database driven, content-rich websites for small business customers across the US. The company as listed as one of Practical eCommerce Magazine’s “Top 100 Notable Shopping Carts” in September/October 2007. Hundreds of site owners use MightyMerchant to manage their online stores. For more information visit www.mightymerchant.com, and for ecommerce knowledge and tools visit the MightyMerchant eCommerce Blog.

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