Admittedly, I know this title might provoke some head scratching at
first: “SURVEYS?! How are boring old surveys going to all of a sudden
become some major player in business?” And I’m so glad you asked.
Feedback-based marketing is nothing new. Everyone knows, or at least
repeats, the mantra that ‘the customer is always right’ and that giving
your customers exactly what they want is the key to the success of your
business. It was true 50 years ago, and it’s still true today. That
said, the growth you’re about to see from survey/feedback based business
practices is due to the fact that new technology is vastly changing the
ways we can and do interact with customers.
Traditionally, surveys have suffered from one of two shortcomings. The
first, was that if you wanted to survey customers on the spot, or right
after they had made a purchase in a brick and mortar store, you were
likely going to have to use paper surveys. While you were collecting
valuable realtime feedback, the tedium and cost of paper survey supplies
and data entry was more than a little speedbump in keeping customer
feedback a viable adjust-as-you-go business strategy.
More recently, we’ve had programs and websites which allow the creation
of online surveys. These surveys can have their data indexed and
organized in realtime, saving you hours or work and pay fishing through
results. The downside was that there were no easy ways to execute these
types of surveys when they were most needed (i.e. at a point of sale).
Instead, customers would have to be emailed a link or asked to visit a
website hours or even days later. At this point, the quality and
accuracy of feedback and recall declines and you won’t get as good of
insights as you could have.
Now, however, companies like Responster and Customerville have jumped on
the rise of tablets and mobile phones to help bring the best of both
worlds together. For your business, that looks like cross-platform
surveys that are made to be integrated into touch and run on any device.
Now, a business that invests in setting up a cheap iPad kiosk can all
of a sudden be collecting helpful feedback from a large percentage of
their customers within the first day.
Over time, it will become more apparent that the businesses who take
advantage of platforms that allow them to better interact with and
respond to customer feedback will perform better. Whereas the
marketplace used to be largely dictated by what businesses told the
public they needed in the past, we now exist in a consumer controlled
world. The internet was the first wave of customer empowerment, social
media overhauled it altogether, ensuring that customer complaints and
suggestions could be heard around the world as soon as they were thought
of, and now we’ve arrived at the third era. Mark my words, feedback is
going to separate businesses more and more in the next few years,
because no one is going to turn away from a brand that designs their
product and service offerings in direct response to something that
customer suggested 3 hours ago.