I'm writing to you about all those "invitations" you send me to complete surveys about my experience with your product or service.
"How was your visit to our restaurant? Take five minutes to complete this survey..."
"How did you like that thing you bought? Complete this survey...."
I applaud your effort to better understand your customers. I really do.
And I'm flattered you want to know what I think.
But I want to let you in on a little secret...
If I thought my experience with your product or service was fantastic, I'd be sure to tell you.
Honestly, I've lost count of the number of emails I've sent about products I love and managers I've spoken with about exemplary service I've received. When I'm impressed, I want you to know so the people who impressed me can be recognized and rewarded.
In fact, I wouldn't just tell YOU... I'd tell EVERYBODY! Social media lets me share my praise about the products and services I love with almost everyone I know, and any decent social listening tool will collect all those comments for you.
And if I thought what you sold me was terrible, or that the experience I had was awful?
Trust me, I'd be sure to tell you that too. The internet is full of outraged customers who take the time to hashtag their grievances for your review and action.
But you already know all of this, right? You're not looking for the easy-to-find outliers: the exceptional and the exceptionally bad comments.
You want to understand all the things in-between.
The people who weren't fussed enough to complain... just fussed enough to consider another company's products or services the next time a similar purchase had to be made. The customers you might lose... but whom you could also retain with a little effort!
Fortunately, there's an easy way to get that from me too.
My opinions are worth something.
You already know that, because if they weren't, you wouldn't be asking me for them.
But my time is valuable to me, and it's a bit naive to think I'm going to spend five minutes to complete a survey in exchange for... what?
An entry into a contest where I have a one in 10,000+ chance to win a $50 gift card?
Overvalued loyalty points that can be traded in for underwhelming merchandise?
If I'm bored and in a good mood, it's possible... but unlikely.
If you truly want my opinion so you can improve, pay me for my time.
It doesn't have to break the bank: a 10% discount on my next purchase or some free food the next time I visit your dining establishment will usually be enough to show you value my feedback. But it should be something I see as valuable. Something that says, "We appreciate you providing us with the feedback we need to make our business better."
Is there a cost to doing this?
No. Because listening to your customers isn't a cost, it's an investment.
So invest in my opinions.
Or FFS, stop asking me for them.