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How to stop churn from spam surveys

“Doesn’t matter if we upset a few customers.”

If someone in your marketing team said that, would you be happy?

Now I know that not everyone is going to love what you do. But if your marketing research is causing customer churn who actually DO like you, surely that has to raise a red flag.

Well, incredibly, that’s exactly what some marketers say every time they send out a piece of research.

OK, let’s put this into perspective. 

•    It will cost 8 - 10 times more to acquire than retain a customer

•    75% of marketing budgets are spent on Retention

•    And around 40 odd percent churn because of poor service, or management of the complaint

Bottom line, you should be doing everything you can to retain customers. 

But for some reason I struggle to understand, is that for the sake of filling a spreadsheet, for ticking off your KPIs, marketers are tolerating appalling research touchpoints.

Some years ago, in conversation with a research provider, his attitude was ...

"Just send the survey to everyone. If some opt-out no-loss, heaps more to pull from."

What he didn't understand, was the person was, in reality, opting-out of doing business with the brand. Or at the very least, no longer having warm & fuzzy feelings about you.

And to quote from a report Eriks Celmins recently wrote - "5 Ways Customer Feedback Systems are Damaging your Brand." a marketing manager justified using a shopping-cart survey tool ...

 “most people don’t have a problem filling in the survey.”

The word that amazes me in that statement is ‘most’.  OK, most might do it without complaining. But imagine if you’d just spent 30 minutes on a website, making your purchase selection, all the way to the cart … then at the last minute being forced to complete a survey, before you can even pay!

Well, I’m guessing ‘most’ would just put up with the mechanical process … but they’ll never rave about it.

Apart from the fact that who knows if their answers are even right! More likely they’ll be just ticking anything to get on with the process.

Is this what marketing research has become? 

Is this what marketing research has become?

Well apparently. But only for businesses who really don’t care about churning their customers.            

If they genuinely thought about how a customer would feel, and wanted insights to make customers’ lives better, then there’s no way they’d allow that anywhere near their business.

But so-calledcustomer-centriccompanies are pushing out these types of research every day.  And their rationale is that they are gathering the data that will make customers happier.

There is a better way!

Your marketing is all about your customer. “What’s In It For Them”, so why isn’t your research?

It’s just not been done that way. Traditionally acceptable to just take from the audience.

Being invited to a focus group or asked to participate in a survey, actually used to be a privilege. That you bragged about to friends.

But with the advent of digital survey tools, anyone can be exposed to them at any time, often intrusively aspam … they're no longer fun!

We’ve been experimenting for years, on turning this old-fashioned perspective around for our clients.

Adding the marketing engagement values to marketing research will deliver not only higher quality responses, but customers will develop an even stronger bond with the business.

The Takeaway

So next time you want to send out a survey, run it through this filter first.

•    Will your customers have a sense of Purpose in completing the questions?

•    Is there a sense of Community, or are you leaving them in isolation?

•    Is the process Fun, or just mechanical?

•    Is there Value to your customers … or is all the Value directed towards you?

Make trust a priority in your business.

 •    Will they feel they have real Influence?

Marketing research is critical in understanding your audience. But its value must be reviewed in terms of the potential for churning people, from the experience of your business.

It takes enormous resources to get them on board in the first place. So, think twice before you implement any form of research.

This reminds me of what my mother used to say:

“Treat people how you’d like to be treated.”

If all your marketing research embraced this, I believe we’d have less take and more give. 

Resulting in quality insights & happier customers.

If you want to learn more about how to turn your research around, check out Eriks’ article "5 Senses That Will Power Your Marketing Research"


Hungry for more on this topic?  

Get your copy of my "7 Biggest Mistakes Businesses make with Surveys" now.

It’s very easy these days to pull together a survey. But as a brand touchpoint, it has to be engaging.

This Tip-Sheet runs through the most common mistakes I see …even from the big research companies.

These days it's not good enough to send out collateral ( a survey is like any other), that doesn't embrace your brand.

If you're sending out surveys, then you need to read this.


Fans Rave About Our Research Experience ... Do Yours?

If you want quality insights & stronger relationships then let's talk.  

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