Does This Customer Survey Have Value?

Customer surveys can be a terrific way to check on your sales and customer service efforts — not everyone will fill them out (and those who do may not tell you everything you need to know), but in some cases you’ll have the opportunity to correct problems you didn’t know you had.

This only works if you act on what you learn.

A survey we recently received in the mail has the potential to be teaching tool, or a complete waste of postage. Updates will follow. The history:

In June, we needed a new backyard fence. This post has more details. The short version is that my wife called three well-known companies. One never returned a phone message, although they did send a postcard promising that someone would call. A second company sent a salesman who took measurements, promised to return with a bid, and was never heard from again. Only the third company followed up with a quote, and that company got our business.

[Roland Young of Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking deserves credit for his follow-up, and for doing a fine job on the fence. A radio campaign would be an excellent way for Rick’s to tell the world about what they do, and I invite them to call me at 503-323-6553. But I digress.]

The company who never returned our call just sent us a survey. The cover letter is signed by the president of the company. It says, in part:

Our business is based on referrals from the clients who contact [us], and we want that experience to be positive. So that we can ensure that we’re doing a good job for clients, we ask for feedback to see how we are doing. It would help us a great deal if you would complete the questions on the back and return this form at your earliest convenience in the enclosed self-adressed envelope.

Our initial reaction upon opening the envelope was amusement. After having completely dropped the ball, how could they, with a straight face, ask us how they did? But I now think this was a smart move. They don’t what happened, because we never told them — all we did was spend our money with someone else and move on. The survey represents a system they’ve set up to make sure they find out about things like this.

So we’re going to fill it out and send it back. We will be candid about our experience. Our answers may help them plug a hole in their sales funnel, and improve the results of their advertising — but only if someone reads it and acts on what they learn.

Stay tuned for updates.


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