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Did the Review Economy Kill Surveys?

customer surveys

With the rise of reviews online and social media, many companies have opted out of sending their clients surveys altogether. The thinking is they don’t need them since they are hearing from their customers on a regular basis online. However, is this a good strategy? Do surveys still play an important role?

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the Review Economy. Let’s face it, we have all relied on online reviews when it comes to making a purchase. I would guess that this increased a lot this past year during COVID, with most of us increasing our online shopping. in fact, we wrote about Apple Ratings and what it may do to the Review Economy down the road in a recent blog post. Apple Ratings is something to watch!

The statistics are in favor of online reviews. Northwestern University conducted a study that concluded 95% of shoppers rely on reviews before making a purchase.

Traveling and looking for a good place to eat nearby? You may very well depend on those online reviews before making your dining decision. They are not going away anytime soon.

Google Reviews

Google reviews can really make an impact on brick and mortar companies. So much so that many owners have tried to offer payment in exchange for a good Google review. Something we highly discourage our clients to do, as it is dishonest and can also come back around at some point if you are not careful. Imagine for a moment a customer does leave you a good review in exchange for monetary compensation. Down the road the same person may have an unfavorable experience at your place of business. Can you imagine if they post in social media about it? Even worse, they may cite the favorable review and the compensation. In today’s culture, anything is possible!

Good Google Reviews can make a positive impact on your business, but you had better make sure you have a process in place to monitor the site as well as others. Nothing speaks louder than an unhappy customer with zero reaction from the company. Even if it is an automatic response ( as many are ), it is still better than nothing. Keeping track of your online reputation is a must.

The Case For Surveys

Online reviews have their place, however they can never be a total replacement for conducting your own internal research. Whether you are using mystery shopping or customer surveys, a business in today’s climate can never have too much customer interaction. The Voice of the Customer is still heard the loudest in the form of surveys.

Time is money and money is time. Keep your surveys short and to the point. A short survey that is viewed as easy to take by a customer will garner some excellent results.

We have a B2B client who measures delivery satisfaction. The customer is asked to complete a 4 question Mobile survey right in the moment of experience. Drivers are incentivized to deliver good surveys. This program has run for about a year now and each month the client receives well over a hundred surveys and it is growing. When you factor in word of mouth about the program internally, and good old-fashioned competition, you can create an actionable program for pennies a day!

Question Alternatives

With today’s surveys one has many more options to make an engaging experience for your customers. Here is a great example. Consider how many people took to Tik Tok over the past year! Why? Because they were stuck indoors and found it to be very entertaining. Short, creative and sometimes educational videos by real people on all kinds of topics. In fact, the demographic of users increased because of word of mouth advertising. What started out being a young person’s social site is now used by parents and even some grandparents.

What if we could bring the same level of enthusiasm to a survey?

  • Allow the respondent to take a photo right within the survey. A restaurant customer may love to show a photo of what their entree looked like when they received it! Or how about someone who was asked to upload a photo on how they used the product once it was taken home? It is a more up close and personal kind of question.
  • Try using some humor when crafting your questions or even try using humor in your answers. For example, if fitting for your survey, use words other than excellent, very good , good, etc.. This depends on your customer demographic of course. According to humorthatworks.com, “A survey is only as good as the responses it receives from the responders”. One way to increase the number of survey responses is to use humor to make your surveys fun.” For an excellent rating you could call it “out of the park fantastic”, for example.
  • Change the wording of traditional questions. Anyone who has taken a survey, knows the “standard” questions most ask. They can become so redundant that the respondent doesn’t even think about the answer. Take the question ““How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” Boring. Instead try ““Has our service been fantastic enough that you’d happily tell you friends about us?”

So don’t disregard the old survey methodologies quite yet. They just need sprucing up a bit and some creative thinking!

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Apple Ratings – A Disrupter for the “Review Economy”

Online Reviews

The Review Economy is something that people have been writing and speaking about for years now and for good reason. Keeping track of a brand’s online reviews is necessary if you are to survive in 2020 and beyond. They simply hold too much weight. Research shows that just a 1 star jump in a Yelp review can lead to a 9% boost in revenue. Businesses need them now more than ever and they are very willing to incentivize customers to leave product reviews by offering contest participation, where you can “win” a free product or a monetary prize. In many ways, it has replaced the customer feedback give-a-ways of the past. Take this survey and you could win $500.00! Instead, we now see “Review your recent purchase and you could win $500.00”.

Enter Apple Ratings

Apple ratings is coming with the new iOS 14 upgrade, due out this fall. Up to this point, Apple Maps relied on Yelp and Trip Advisor as their main resource for reviews. 9to5Mac.com, a site that is devoted to Mac updates, shared the news with their followers. The sixth beta for iOS 14 show that Apple is not only moving away from third-party map data, but its also moving away from third-party image and review data. Apple is saying that photos submitted by users will be reviewed by a human.

We were able to capture a couple of comments made so far below, as a small test of i

What This Means for the Review Economy

It may mean that Apple Reviews will be disruptive to Yelp and Trip Advisor in the long run. Apple intends on being very proactive when it comes to review fraud. No easy task. They may also only allow users to rate a place after physically visited it. They may also use a thumbs up and thumbs down rating system rather than stars.

In the end, if it is done properly, it may be a review economy disrupter in a good way! Apple may be able to tighten the parameters around online reviews, making fake reviews a thing of the past.

It will be one more area for businesses of all kinds to monitor. Having a solid social listening or monitoring system in place is so important. Customer churn is real and monitoring online feedback is just as important as conducting market research, mystery shopping or conducting customer satisfaction surveys.

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Customer Trust – Glass Half Empty or Glass Half Full?

Customer Trust

How does a business gain customer trust? How does a business gain trust in uncertain times? Very important questions. It requires some real thought. The quietness we are all in is the perfect time to step back and evaluate. Soon businesses will reopen and begin new business’ models for the times we are in. Customer trust is critical for survival. In my opinion, it has never been more important.

Winners and Losers

I have seen CEO’s posting in Linkedin about what they are currently doing to retain customers. They are, in part, establishing brand trust. A large restaurant chain offered a catering style dinner delivered, with the exact specifications of the customer. I mark that one a “glass half full” rating because they are pivoting to the new norm. Not to mention the convenience they are offering those families who are home schooling kids while working full time jobs. Great job TGIFridays! They took it a step further by offering to go Meal Kits. I love this and I bet their customers do too. When you check out their website you see true transparency. Another win!

Ice Cream Chain Confuses Customer

An ice cream chain of restaurants are an example of “glass half empty” rating. I recently stumbled on this Facebook post by an unhappy customer.

Customer waits for almost 30 minutes in a drive through lane, trying to bring home ice cream treats for the family perhaps, only to get to the window to read a sign about COVID-19 PPE requirements for the first time. Better yet, I checked out their website, and there is nothing there about COVID-19. No messaging whatsoever. It is like COVID-19 is not even happening in their world. Zero transparency. Notice that this post was commented on by 186 people, but who knows how many people viewed it without leaving a comment. As I scrolled through the comments, a few people discussed how the customer service at this location has been deteriorating for some time. Sadly, this business will never see this post because they are not listening well online.

Social Media Impact & Reach

Social media usage is up right now, which makes social media listening for customer service even better. Leaning in on social data now will help build customer trust.

People in general, your customers, are stressed. They have certain expectations for the businesses they love. What do you think will happen when this is all over and the ice cream store is open for dine in? Would you remember this experience and try out a new ice cream store instead? Let me take it one step further. Let’s say this customer does try out a competitor and they find that their product is not as stellar but their customer experience is fantastic! Speed, delivery and a smile. Recovery from this kind of poor customer service is long lasting. Who can afford that right now?

Leaning in on Customer Insights

The word cloud is a great visual of what we are feeling right now. Another “glass is half full” award goes to ChatDesk and their recent blog post on “How Are Your Customers Feeling About Coronavirus / COVID-19?” Excellent Social Media Listening! It pretty much recommends that we all put ourselves in our customer’s shoes right now.

Listen Like This

*Blog by: Kathy Doering, President of Ann Michaels & Associates. The above example is only one way in which we listen on behalf of our customers. If this is something you would like to see up close and personal, please schedule a demo with use here.

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