Online Surveying: How a Little Misinformation Can Be Dangerous
“Customer 2.0” has revolutionized the way that companies are doing business. Customers are more in control of their transactions than ever before and can be in multiple places at multiple times, all thanks to the Internet. At a session I led during last week’s ACCM conference in Boston, the panel and I discussed ways multichannel marketers can get to know such customers better.
For instance, when companies use online surveying methods to find out what their Web customers want, they should be aware that misinformation is often more dangerous than no information at all. It’s critical that companies gather “voice of customer” information that provides strategic insight. Organizations need data that is accurate, precise, reliable and actionable. Otherwise, predictive capability is compromised and the results won’t point you to making improvements that will contribute most to the bottom line .
During the session, we brought out several key factors that companies must remember when conducting online surveys.
1. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. How do you define success unless you have a way to measure it? You can’t manage a Web site without measuring whether you’re meeting your customers’ needs and expectations. Also, survey questions need to be consistent so that over time, you can track trends and gauge progress.
2. What you measure will determine what you do. The results of your measurement will determine where you decide to allocate resources. If you’re asking survey questions about the wrong area, then you’re going to invest in improvements to the wrong area without improving what you set out to improve.
3. Your customer survey measurements must be accurate, precise and reliable. In otherwords, garbage in, garbage out! If your surveys are biased or aren’t representative of your customers, they’re useless. It’s more damaging to have poor surveys and measurement than to have none at all. How you ask questions will influence your responses. So carefully consider whether your questions will lead you to the response you’re looking for, or toward a customer-driven insight.
4. Measure what matters most; your customers.
Larry Freed is president/CEO of ForeSee Results, an online satisfaction measurement and management. You can reach him at Larry.Freed@ForeSeeResults.com .