I was chatting to a taxi driver on the way to see a client the other day, and he asked what I do.
I explained that I help companies understand their customers.
“You mean you send out those surveys that I never answer?”
It’s a depressingly common reaction. If people are to be believed, it’s a miracle that we manage to persuade anyone to take part in our research.
My taxi driver went on to explain why:
“There’s no point because they never reply to you, however much time you take explaining how you feel, or how the service could have been better.”
I think that’s a really interesting perspective. For our business to business clients, it’s normal to respond to customers individually based on their answers. You need to learn general lessons, sure, but you also need to address individual concerns and show that you value their feedback.
What about business to consumer clients? We usually recommend a “hot alert” system, passing on any customers with a burning issue for the client to resolve, but that’s not what the taxi driver was talking about.
He was talking about the lack of respect customer satisfaction surveys often show for customers, asking them to spend 10 minutes to submit carefully considered responses…which are then aggregated into a mass for impersonal analysis.
I think he’s right, we owe customers more than that.
If we’re worried about falling response rates (as we should be) then we need to do something about it. I suggest starting with a simple promise…
If you complete a satisfaction survey for us, and you want a personal response, you’ll get one.
For anyone who really cares about what their customers think I can’t see any reason you wouldn’t want to do it, and I’m willing to bet it would improve your response rate.