It’s not so often people benefit from free advice, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Provide advice about online surveys, shaped around a survey we’ve just received. Good eh?
First of all… we’ve received the survey from streetcar, a company we use and like… so streetcar, if you’re reading, sorry if the advice is a little much to take. For the rest of you, consider the points and lessons there to learn.
Ok… here we go. The first no no. Delivery. The survey link was in a newsletter, tucked away right at the bottom. So the liklihood of the survey being taken is low. Most people will see the newsletter drop into their inbox and it will get deleted, slide down outlook, or will be viewed, but not with the intention of sharing views.
The other thing. It landed in my inbox at 16:18 on the Thursday before Easter. Heard of POETS day? Well it applies on the Thursday before Easter too. That means the first chance many corporates will pick up that e-mail is Tuesday after Easter Monday. It’s going to be competing with all that other e-mail from clients, suppliers, marketers and spam galore. That reduces the liklihood of being seen even more.
Right… lets say we click on the link. A very poorly branded page opens up. My PC blocked the image so we had a nice red cross in the top left corner. A colour not quite matching streetcars brand colour wraps around the image.
A font that doesn’t quite fit as the header. Sorry…. but the free/ cheap online survey companies don’t offer amazing editing facilities so its always going to be a fudge and will look like something that you wouldnt publish on your printed material or your website. Shame really.
The text near the survey link in the newsletter says they want to understand about customers views to improve service. Now streetcar (remember we’re a customer and we like you)… what impression do you think you give when the first question you ask is “Which of the following cars does your business use regularly?”
Now I can share that we receive a statement every month that lists cars, mileage, time used… its all very clever. So we know you have exact precise information of what cars we’ve used and probably where we’ve driven and when.
So what do I think that you’re asking us a question you know the answer to? Think about it…hmm… not great eh?
Have we heard of streetvan… thats not going to improve the service we receive is it? No… hmm… going from bad to worse this.
Has your business used a streetvan in the last 12 months? So…. I’m asked if I’ve heard of streetvan. If I answer no, I’m now being asked if I’ve used it! And… you know if I have or haven’t because of your internal booking systems.
The survey goes on to ask how often we use streetvans, what we use them for, if we’re planning on using them in the next 6 months, what we might want to use them for, have we hired a traditional van, what did we use a traditional van for and then some pretty pictures of vans and which we like the look of most.
Standing back. Looking at that through independent eyes. What strikes you about it?
To us, the flow of questions doesn’t fit, it’s not in a logical order, and each question is dependent on the one before. But whats more… it has absolutely nothing to do with customer service at all. It sounds sales driven and aimed at data gathering for prospecting. That’s not a survey, and it certainly isn’t a survey to improve the service we receive.
Branching would help massively so only relevant questions are asked, but the whole basis of the survey is flawed from the outset.
But worst of all, the only question that streetcar probably don’t know the answer to already is if someone has used a traditional van instead of a street van.
Now remember streetcar, we’re customers and friends and we like you.
You’re not alone in sending a marketing or sales led survey through a cheap or free provider and have really make a right pigs ear of it. It’s ok… many big companies have done just that, so provided you listen to the problems and resolve them… no damage done.
So next time… think. What’s the purpose? Does the survey meet that purpose? Have you got the information to hand already? Is the survey easy to take and matches your brand identity to a high standard?
Is the time you’re sending it right? Do you need advice from someone who does this all the time? And what do you expect to gain from the results?
We don’t want to sound harsh. You can imagine we see surveys all the time. Sadly, many aren’t up to scratch and just by a bit of guidance and tapping into someones knowledge… it could have provided so much value and useful insight.