Through the eyes of Paula…
Chances are high that you have already been asked hundreds of times by websites if you would like to fill out an online survey or contribute in some way to providing online feedback. With technology becoming ever more prevalent in today’s modern world, people are growing increasingly more accustomed to finding advertisements, links, and requests for feedback/interactivity/email addresses on the websites they visit. Aside from the bombardment aspect, which is another issue for a more critical-thinking audience, online feedback is in fact an ideal way to communicate with and obtain information from customers. The online format is conducive to our busy lives, because it saves time, effort, and money.
Rather than investing time and effort in certain market research tactics such as phone calls and in-person surveys, online feedback programs give customers more freedom and leniency. Filling out surveys online allows customers to provide their feedback at whatever time or location that is most convenient for them. There is less pressure to come up with answers on the spot, so customers get the chance to express their thoughts in a more relaxed setting. This method will allow for customers to think through their responses and provide more useful feedback for the companies that seek customers’ opinions.
Online feedback programs also allow companies to obtain the feedback much quicker than any in-person method, and the effort it takes to do things like distribute the information and tabulate the results is also cut down. As an added bonus, since online feedback programs are paperless, they are environmentally friendly.
To get online feedback programs in motion, companies must first drive traffic to their website – through posters, tent cards, messages on customers’ receipts, and so on. Once many people have found the online feedback section, the company could offer an incentive to complete the survey, like a free meal or a gift card. When the online feedback is provided, companies can retrieve the information within seconds and update statistical reports. This instantaneous and accurate data gives companies the competitive edge. As well, building customer contact databases ensures ongoing communication. Online feedback programs also save money associated with printing, postage, and labour costs.
In order to maximize the value of online feedback programs, companies can follow some do’s and don’ts that cater specifically to the online format. Since customers are viewing a screen when completing the survey, the webpage should not have a scroll bar – this stops customers from scrolling through the survey and skipping questions. Companies should also make sure that the survey works on all major browsers, and that the webpages load quickly. The survey should use more drop-down options rather than typed responses, and having more than one question on each page makes the survey feel shorter. Customers also appreciate knowing what the company is going to do with the data. As well, sharing the findings and acting upon them shows customers that the company values their time, which will encourage them to provide more feedback in the future.