It is definitely a companies job to continually monitor the heath and happiness of its customer base. I think everyone can agree (they might not always act like it) that the customer is always the most important asset to a businesses long term success.
However constant intrusive surveying of your customer base is both unnecessary and in my belief negative to the customer experience. It just pisses me off every time I go to a website or use a service and I am asked, “Would you please take a 5 minute survey”.
- FourSeasons.com- for a random set of customers it has a pop up before you can go into the site asking if you will answers questions about your experience when you leave.
- Car manufacturers- call you after each service to ask about your experience. This is highly skewed as every car dealer calls you before the survey people call you and tell you to say that the service was excellent.
- American Express- called me today to ask how my experience was on the phone with them yesterday. I told the operator I was on a conference call, his reply was “When would be a better time to answer these questions?” My answer, “never”.
- Skype- after a call a pop-up window asks how the call quality was. (screen shot attached)
The fundamental problem I find in these intrusive forms of surveying is that they forget, I am the customer they are the vendor. By calling/prompting me with questions they are taking up my time to make up for the fact that they are not creative enough to understand how to run a business with happy customers or properly innovate.
The second problem is that companies that rely on consumer feedback typical build the wrong product. If consumers really knew what they wanted they would not be consumers but inventors or UI designers. Many times it has been my experience that consumers ask for lots of things but when you give them all these things they either don’t use them, or get so confused that it hurts the core product.
In all of the above examples there are very simple ways to not only understand if your customers are happy but also to go beyond that and innovate things to make your customers experience even better.