How to Start a Recurring Customer Feedback Program

Have you been considering doing some customer research and just not really known how to get started?  I mean you read about doing “customer satisfaction research” and how important it is, but they just leave it there — no one ever tells you how to actually implement a customer feedback program that actually gives YOU the information you need to run your business better, and your customers the opportunity to tell you what will make them happier and more loyal.

When should I start doing research?

There is no magic moment. But if you’re sitting there trying to make a business decision and you find yourself thinking FOR or ON BEHALF of your customer — that’s a good time to actually ASK them what they think.

If you’re in a meeting and your team starts saying what the customer wants — and they aren’t looking at a data set — that would be a trigger to tell you that you need research.

Market or customer research isn’t so much about knowing what your customer thinks as it is to help you make better decisions.  So every time you’re about to make a decision that is rooted in what your customer might like or not like or what action they might take — that’s the time to do some research.

How to get started

Sit down with your team and just start talking.  Come up with some of the key decisions that you’re trying to make and then dig deeper into what’s holding you back.  Chances are, it’s going to have something to do with a lack of information about what will work for your customers.  And since you aren’t asking them and you’re guessing — your project is delayed.

Generate a list of respondents.   This is not a branding survey.  That means that it won’t be blind.  You will tell your respondents EXACTLY what you are doing — You are trying to figure out what’s important to them — what matters to them so that you can improve your product or service.

Generate a list of customers who you know will give you GOOD feedback.  Good feedback means that they will tell you the good and the bad.  Create 3 segments of customers in your list:

  1. Customers you love that love you back
  2. Customers with whom you’ve hit a few bumps in the road – they aren’t satisfied
  3. Customers who are on the fence – and haven’t decided to work with you yet or haven’t decided to buy more from you even though you know they could.

Have conversations with a few customers and explore what matters to them — a.k.a. In-depth-Interviews

I started this headline with In-depth-interviews and instantly remembered that this phrase usually stopped every customer research project in its tracks.  That’s because it rang (cha-chings) in the budgets of managers.

People are afraid of in-depth-interviews because it sounds overwhelming and expensive.  The truth is they are just conversations with customers about what matters to them.  The only difference is that you are following a pre-written set of questions and asking each customer the same question — it’s more organized than a standard chit chat .

Create an online discussion guide.  QuestionPro and SurveyAnalytics have online survey tools, but you can actually use these same online surveys to document your in-depth-interviews.

Create an online discussion guide that can be taken online as well as during a phone interview.  That means make sure that the questions are conversational and create a good experience for the respondent.

Develop a list of questions that you’d like to ask:

  1. Tell me about your relationship with (company name)
  2. What triggered you to contact them?
  3. What was it about (company name) that made them an obvious choice for you?
  4. What alternatives did you consider?

Develop a list of things that might be important to your customer:  This is a fantastic benchmarking opportunity.  Include items in your list that are existing features or services that you offer and also include those items that you might consider offering.  Finally, sneak in a few items that a competitor is offering but that you aren’t to see how they value those things.

This list will drive your action items and projects, so you want to make sure that it’s concrete and easy to understand.  For example you might include “online ordering” as a feature that might be important, but that you currently don’t offer and a competitor does.  If your customers say that this is important to them — you may decide to put an online ordering system in place.

Brainstorm a long list and then choose the top 5-7 most critical items.

Generate a list of other alternatives or competitors. Create a list of other companies that your customers can purchase the same products or services from.

Use the importance/Satisfaction question style.  QuestionPro and SurveyAnalytics have a variety of question styles to choose from but I think that the Importance/Satisfaction style is one of the simplest and yet most powerful.

Insert your 5-7 attributes inside this question type.

When the respondent gets to this question, they will rate HOW IMPORTANT an attribute is to you — and then they will rate how satisfied they are with YOUR performance in that area

Ask them what other companies they purchase from.  After the attribute question, ask them who else they purchase from.  Some will say and other won’t.  You won’t know until you ask.

Repeat those same attributes from the importance/satisfaction question as a matrix.

Use the branching/Looping feature to insert the competitor’s name inside of the attribute matrix.  This will allow the respondent to rate every alternative based on the same attributes.

These ratings will actually create benchmarking data that will allow you to compare your performance against the competition AND against what’s important to your customer.  Your next new product or service can come out of this question — alone!

Give respondents a heads-up.  BEFORE you contact any respondent to do the discussion with you, send them an email or a letter (letters are taken more seriously and don’t get caught in spam) to tell them what you are up to.  Explain that someone will be calling them to schedule an interview.  Ask them to be honest and open and to share freely.  This will greatly increase your response rates and the quality of your responses.

Send an email invitation.  Next, send them an email invitation to the survey.  Inside the invitation, give respondents the opportunity to schedule time with you.  I like to use a link to my Tungle calendar – this way they can pick and choose times that work for them and schedule themselves right into my calendar.

Also offer them the option to complete the discussion online — this also increases your response rates.

Aim for at least 30 telephone completions.  Make sure you TALK TO at least 30 people.  Actually talking to people will give you significantly more insight into what really matters to them.

Then aim for another 30 online completions.

Follow this process and the results will AMAZE you!

SurveyPocket 3.6 Integrates MicroPanel’s Panel Recruitment!

If you’re an existing Survey Analytics client, we know how much our services are beneficial to you. A lot of the benefit comes from the exceptional products we have, and continued additional products; especially when you can find all of the solutions you need for market research from one company, Survey Analytics / QuestionPro, AND by working with the your designated representative of your account for all products you choose to use.

With panel recruitment added to SurveyPocket, you’re now given the ability to integrate your existing Survey Analytics panel within your offline surveys. If you use panels, you know how important and essential panel recruitment is.

SurveyPocket 3.6 is coming soon! Stay tuned to hear more of the exciting additions Survey Analytics and SurveyPocket continues to add. Let us know your feedback: what are your visions of perfection when it comes to market research? We’ve already defined the need in Survey Analytics for mobilizing our products.

Another benefit, you can try it all out for free and be your own judge. If you don’t already have a Survey Analytics account, sign up here: surveyanalytics.com Once you’ve done this, try out our iPad app SurveyPocket by finding it in the App Store  and see the efficiency you can add to your market research by using both the web interface and a mobile interface.

How Does Export To Cloud Work?

In order to know how Export to Cloud works, you will first need to understand what Export to Cloud is all about. It is pretty simple. It is a tool or an option that allows you to export excel reports into your DropBox and Google Docs account.

The Export to Cloud can be accessed once you log into your account. From the main page, you can subsequently select Surveys Ø Reports Ø Export Data ØExport to Cloud. Here are the steps you will need to follow:

Exporting your survey reports to Google Docs

Step #1:

Once you select Surveys, click on the Reports tag and look through the items listed at the right side of the screen to find Export Data and click on it. Once you’ve clicked it, you’ll see three main tools listed, the “Raw Data Export”, “Charts & Analytics Export” and “Export to Cloud”. Click on the Authenticate with Google Docs button and log into your Google Doc account. If you are already signed into your Google account, this step will automatically be omitted, taking you to the next step.

Step #2:

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be taken to an authenticating page, where you will need to click on Grant Access button at the lower left side of the screen to authenticate your account.

Step #3:

You will then be redirected back to the Export Data page, where you will then be able to click on the Export to Cloud button to post your Excel Report in your account. If you want to remove or disable the association of your Excel Report with your Google Docs accounts, you can click the Delete Association button to do so.

Exporting Your Survey Reports to DropBox

Exporting your survey reports to DropBox is pretty much the same as exporting your reports to your Google Doc account.

Step #1:

On the main Export Data page, click the Authentiate with DropBox button and log into your DropBox account.

Step #2:

Click on the Allow button from the DropBox authenticating page to authenticate your account.

Step #3:

Once you’ve been redirected to the Export Data page, you can then click on the Export to DropBox button and post your report to your DropBox account. If you want to remove or disable the association of your survey report with your DropBox account, click on the Delete Association button.

Whether you are using a Google Doc account or a DropBox account, there are certain license and Access options available with each of them. These include no long term commitments, unlimited surveys, responses, questions and advanced toolset and features.

Webinar: Mobile Market Research Trends and SurveySwipe Demo

SurveySwipe is hosting a complimentary webinar on Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern.

The webinar title is “Mobile Market Research Trends and SurveySwipe Demo.”

Part One – Mobile Market Research Trends

In the first part of this webinar, marketing expert Romi Mahajan and SurveySwipe co-founder Chandika “Chad” Bhandari will discuss the hottest trends in mobile surveys today.

– Mobile ethnography
– Passive data collection
– Gamification
– Hyperlocal surveys
– Panel communities
– The effect of HTML5 on mobile surveys

Part Two – SurveySwipe Demonstration

In the second part of the webinar, John Nelson will demonstrate SurveySwipe mobile survey technology. John will show how SurveySwipe leverages the trends discussed by Romi and Chad, and much more.

Here is the link to register for the webinar:  https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/401831910

See you there!

SurveyPocket 3.6 Integrates MicroPanel’s Panel Recruitment!

If you’re an existing Survey Analytics client, we know how much our services are beneficial to you. A lot of the benefit comes from the exceptional products we have, and continued additional products; especially when you can find all of the solutions you need for market research from one company, Survey Analytics / QuestionPro, AND by working with the your designated representative of your account for all products you choose to use.

With panel recruitment added to SurveyPocket, you’re now given the ability to integrate your existing Survey Analytics panel within your offline surveys. If you use panels, you know how important and essential panel recruitment is.

SurveyPocket 3.6 is coming soon! Stay tuned to hear more of the exciting additions Survey Analytics and SurveyPocket continues to add. Let us know your feedback: what are your visions of perfection when it comes to market research? We’ve already defined the need in Survey Analytics for mobilizing our products.

Another benefit, you can try it all out for free and be your own judge. If you don’t already have a Survey Analytics account, sign up here: surveyanalytics.com Once you’ve done this, try out our iPad app SurveyPocket by finding it in the App Store  and see the efficiency you can add to your market research by using both the web interface and a mobile interface.

Survey Pocket Now Available for QuestionPro and Survey Analytics Users

Are you going to a trade show or an event where you’d love to get feedback or use surveys as a lead generation tool?  Now is your chance.  The folks over at SurveyPocket are making an offer you won’t want to refuse!

Now all Survey Analytics and QuestionPro users will have access to this wonderful tool.  If you have an iPad, you will be able to use this feature for free and if you DON’T have an iPad — read on.

[Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on the SurveyPocket blog.]

SurveyPocket is such an awesome system for mobile field data collection, that we wish any researcher could use it anytime they’d like.

However, the sad reality is that some projects require more than just a couple of tablet devices.

Not everybody has a stack of iPads laying around, waiting to be used for research.

Except us, that is.

Yup.  We’re so excited to get you rocking on your next mobile data collection project, that we went out and bought 20 iPads specifically so you can use them for your next research project.

All our iPads are pre-loaded with a copy of SurveyPocket.  And of course, we provide you support along the way.

Call us impetuous.

Call us crazy.

But whatever you do, make sure to call us to arrange to use our iPads for your next project.

 

Why Is It So Important To Have Customer Experience Today?

If you are one of those asking this question, just for a heads-up, we have entered “the customers’ era” – an age where the focus is all on customers, instead of other strategic imperatives. The perception of customers has an intense impact on the metrics of a business ranging from customer loyalty and brand equities to cost saving and increased revenues. This is a reality most companies are waking up to today. However, even though executives know that customers make a lot of difference they still don’t have a disciplined approach towards customer interactions. For a business to be successful, the business owners must have a serious approach towards defining, implementing and managing their customer experience.

A Customer-Centric Approach

Having a customer-centric approach is truly your best chance at having a sustainable and competitive advantage. Over the decades, companies keep making promises to customers, without really living up to their expectations in almost all channels. That is a tactic that doesn’t work anymore. Wondering why not? Well, because we are now living in an era where the success of any business imperatively depends on customers, rather than only marketing strategies.

Effects of the Customers’ Era on Businesses

Transforming goods and services into commodities has taken “differentiation” out of the picture.

Traditional boundaries of industries have been dissolved, taking the competitive market to a different dimension.

Customer opinions define the success of a business today. So, if a business gets good responses, it is sure to be a success. On the contrary, if the responses are negative, customers wouldn’t think twice before shunning the brand altogether.

Customer Experience Defines the True Value of a Business

A business executive cannot decide the customer-centricity of his/her company – it is the call of the customers in this case since they are the decisive arbiters. Whether a company is B2B, B2C or a product and service oriented, it can still influence positive customer experiences by:

Bolstering brand equities – by using the best techniques and devices to brand the company.

Acquiring the loyalty of its customers – By building a strong relationship with the customers by ensuring consistent and satisfying services.

Boosting revenues – By adopting the right business methodologies to translate customer loyalty into revenue increments periodically.

Reducing Costs – By driving down its costs to enhance customer support connections.

Customer experience is a discipline with complete tools, practices and methodologies that companies must routinely perform in order to manage customer experience. To have a methodical focus on customers, it is important that customer experience specialists work with C-level executives in order to:

Dedicate employees to customer experience – Customer experience projects don’t usually take off successfully if they are pinned to day jobs.

Allocate budgets to customer experience projects – Doubling down customer experience investments to delight customers is a promising way of ensuring successful initiatives.

Craft customer experience strategies – Having a precise customer experience strategy helps make the organization focus on spreading or distributing the right type of customer interaction strategies.

And finally, focusing on generating a great customer experience builds loyalty and positive word of mouth, which in turn build profitability.  And is there any better reason than that?

iPads! Get Yer iPads Here!

SurveyPocket is such an awesome system for mobile field data collection, that we wish any researcher could use it anytime they’d like.

However, the sad reality is that some projects require more than just a couple of tablet devices.

Not everybody has a stack of iPads laying around, waiting to be used for research.

Except us, that is.

Yup.  We’re so excited to get you rocking on your next mobile data collection project, that we went out and bought 20 iPads specifically so you can use them for your next research project.

All our iPads are pre-loaded with a copy of SurveyPocket.  And of course, we provide you support along the way.

Call us impetuous.

Call us crazy.

But whatever you do, make sure to call us to arrange to use our iPads for your next project.

Find Out More About Using Our iPads for Market Research

 

You Can Thank Us Later – Customize Your Online Polls Using These Newly Released APIs

You don’t have to be a HUGE enterprise to have gorgeous branded and customized polls on your web site.  Granted, you will have to have some technical expertise — but not a staff of expensive engineers.

The MicroPoll application has just released new and improved APIs that will make white-labeling your polls a breeze.

What’s an API and why is this exciting enough to write an article about it?

API stands for Application Programming Interface — and it’s like a gateway that allows you to interact with and customize inside of an already existing platform.  For example Facebook and Twitter are existing platforms and HootSuite and Facebook Apps use APIs to communicate with the platform.

APIs are specially designed to expose only the  chosen functionality and/or data while safeguarding other parts of the application which provides the interface.

And this is why the MicroPoll API is so exciting.  It frees you up from the basic templates that we’ve provided and gives you access to the back end of the MicroPoll platform that allows you to make changes without losing functionality.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to use the new MicroPoll API.

Who should use this?
If you’re an organization who wants to leverage polling from either their own applications or websites use these API’s to give your poll that professional look and feel.
Why would you want to use this?
Your organization can ask a developer to use these APIs to embed polling capabilities natively into applications or more seamlessly into your websites. There is no need to build infrastructure to support data collection or reports because MicroPoll takes care of these.
What’s in it for YOU? 
If you’re rigorous about your brand, then this new feature will allow you to create a a high-end look without all the big budget expenses that go with it.   People will try and tell you that it doesn’t matter – but you know that it does.  There’s no denying that your brand drops a bit in credibility when you’ve invested big bucks in a web site or branding only to embed a cheesy-looking poll inside of a professionally designed web site.
Here’s an example of how one company inserted their logo into the poll.
What could you do with Micropoll’s new API?

2012 The Year Mobile Market Research goes mainstream!

This week in the Seattle office the topic on everyone’s mind has been the buzz about 2012 being the year Mobile Market Research takes off in a big way.  First, my colleague Dana Stanley sent me a link to this article by leading Forrest analist Roxana Strohmenger.

http://blogs.forrester.com/roxana_strohmenger/12-01-10-hello_mobile_market_research_where_have_you_been_what_took_you_so_long

Then, as these events usually do, the same afternoon a friend of mine in the app business told me about this recent research from Flurry showing the continued growth of consumer time spent with apps vs surfing the internet.  Apps are taking the lead!

http://blog.flurry.com/bid/80241/Mobile-App-Usage-Further-Dominates-Web-Spurred-by-Facebook

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Consumer behavior + Robust Software Tools + Better Data = A very big year for Mobile Market Research!

 

Cheers from Fremont, Seattle, USA!