Help! Another Survey in My Inbox! – Part 1, The Consumer View


You go to the store to buy eggs and at the bottom of the receipt it says, “Tell us what you think,” or “How did we do?” You think to yourself, “I bought eggs for heaven’s sakes.” Like the old saying we’ve all heard before, ‘you can run, but you can’t hide.’ Well nowadays it seems like you can’t run or hide from a flood of calls, emails, text messages, and pop-up windows asking you to take a short survey. Why so many and why all the time? You make a quick trip to the store to purchase one thing. You even go through the self-checkout line to pay.  But now you’re asked to complete a survey too. Many of us can relate because we don’t have time or we just don’t feel like answering a set of questions or leaving comments every time we make a purchase, eat out or talk to a customer service rep.

So why does it seem like everybody, everywhere keeps asking us for our feedback. At first thought you may think these companies just want the data to benefit their bottom-line dollar. But the truth of the matter is they want the data to benefit you. Without your feedback, businesses miss out on valuable and insightful information that could help them serve you (the customer) better. It matters not whether it is a new reading program, a pharmaceutical drug, a behavioral intervention program, or a Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Feedback serves a purpose of providing a qualitative perspective of what’s going on. Sure, in all these scenarios there are a host of numerals (we call quantitative data) about the number of units sold, people served, orders filled, time implemented, etc. But what’s missing is how did it make you feel, what was your reaction, did anything change for you, and if so, when, where and how.

Remember learning in elementary about the 5 W’s and 1 H – who, what, where, when, why, and how. While quantitative data may cover many of the Ws, very seldom does it tell us the why or how. So surveys are important, despite what some believe. A well-written survey will answer questions other data can’t tell you. Below are some reasons why companies will use surveys to solicit their customers’ thoughts and opinions:

  1. 1. To assess customer or employee satisfaction – businesses need to know there is a problem in order to fix it.
  1. 2. To assess the implementation of policies, programs and processes – businesses need to know whether their efforts made a positive difference and was it beneficial for their customer.
  1. 3. For continuous improvement of products, process or services – no product, process or service is perfect; there is always room for development to better serve the customer.
  1. 4. To monitor or evaluate the impact of change – things change all the time and are constantly evolving, so to serve you better, businesses need to stay abreast of the ever changing world and how these changes impact the needs and expectations of their customers.
  1. 5. Quick, Easy, and Low Cost – conducting surveys are a quick, easy and low cost way for businesses to include the voices of their customers in the decision-making process. Believe it or not the customers’ voice does drive change.

Stay tuned for Part 2, The Business Side