Don’t Annoy Customers With Stupid Surveys!

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Worst Practices  |  New Rules of Marketing and PR  |  New Rules of Sales & Service  |  Marketing  |  Fanocracy

UPS surveyWhat’s the deal with so many companies sending surveys after you interact with them? In the past few days, I’ve been hit up for “my opinion” from Audi, Fidelity, Hilton, American Airlines, and UPS.

The problem with this is that the customer service department is not aligned with the marketing department and as such is annoying consumers at a critical time.

  • Some companies like UPS try to bribe customers to fill out surveys with “drawings” for some inane prize like a $100 gift card.
  • Some companies like Audi use high pressure tactics, telling customers at the service department that a survey will come and asking for a good rating.
  • Some companies like Fidelity lie by saying that the survey will take “1 minute” but when you click through, it takes way longer.

AA surveyHow do the marketers let this happen? It is crazy for a company to do this at a critical moment – when they have just sat on a customer support call or when they have just purchased a product.

We value your opinion

Wrong. It’s not “we value your opinion” but rather “we want to take some of your time”.

This is all super annoying and not a great way to build fans.


Rather than taking, companies should be giving

Fidelity surveySpecifically, they should be delivering valuable content.

It seems to me the problem with these surveys is the survey people (those in customer support who are measured on the satisfaction of people on a transactional basis for each telephone support call or product purchase) aren’t at all connected to the marketers who are responsible for educating consumers.

And the senior executives are so focused on spreadsheets that they can't even comprehend that the process of gathering that customer service data is harming the company.

I would just do away with this kind of survey completely. But if companies must do it, why not offer something of value first?

  • Why not have a video link showing how people use the product I just purchased? Then ask for opinions.
  • Why not link to the company blog that talks about common customer issues that can easily be solved? Then ask for opinions.
  • Why not link to the online forums for the service that I just signed up for? Then ask for opinions.
  • Why not tell me, in writing, the answer to the service question you just told me over the phone? Then ask for opinions.

Each time you contact a customer you should be providing something of value. You should always be giving more than you are taking in a relationship with a customer.

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