Understand that my time is valuable, and we both win.

Everyone wants my opinion, but no one respects my time.

I understand why a “please review our services” approach has become the norm for customer service departments. Generally, any chance of opening up a conversation with a customer is a good thing.

But not when it feels preprogrammed, a meaningless step in a never-ending sales cycle.

Just look at my yesterday:

  • I bought some clothes at the store and the clerk kept me waiting while she found a pen in order to circle the web site link on the receipt — so that I would know where I could share “my retail experience.”
  • At a drive-thru window I was handed a review slip along with my sandwich.
  • I finished a novel and my Kindle app immediately asked me how many stars it rated, and would I add a review for their site so that they could sell more copies?
  • I took the family to the movies last night. This morning I get an urgent email from Fandango asking for my review – as if my one opinion would help millions of people decide they want to see that well-advertised big-budget, big studio movie. `
  • And no, not one of these companies offered any kind of incentive.

And I’m not alone. EVERYONE seems to be bombarded with these types of surveys and review requests on a daily basis.

Have these companies ever considered who will/can answer all of them? Does anyone feel like they have so much extra time on their hands that they drop everything to fill out a form?

Personally, I consider my free time to be quite valuable. I also know that I’m only apt to respond if I have a complaint, or something was out-of-this-world-extraordinary. And I don’t think I’m that unusual.

That’s why I sincerely doubt that all these requests are generating worthwhile feedback, and wouldn’t be surprised that their response rate is steadily declining.

But there is a very simple solution.

Want a response? Offer something THEY want.

It doesn’t even have to be a big, expensive reward. Starbucks gives you an extra “star” for answering their polls, or for trying a new product. 1/12th of a free latte doesn’t cost the company much, but it certainly improves results.

Google Opinion Rewards is a fantastic example of getting this right. Basically, you earn a little bit of Google Play store credit for answering quick surveys on your phone — anything from ten cents to a buck each. You get a couple of surveys per week. Plus everything is anonymous (but I guess you have to trust Google on that).

 

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