Are You Scared of a Marketing Questionnaire?

Is there a cancer in your business?  Survey expert shows you how to use surveys to find out.By Jeanne Hurlbert, PhD

It happened again last week:  I heard from a friend that another friend of ours had been diagnosed with cancer.  Unfortunately, it hadn’t been detected early.

If you’re like me, it’s just happened too many times to too many people you know.

And all too often, we hear that it could have been prevented.

But we’re all busy and you put off the mammogram because your businesses and soccer games and swim meets keep pushing the appointments out of the way.

Or worse, you suspect something is wrong and you don’t go in because you just don’t want to know, you’re afraid of what they’ll find.

And you know what?  You may be using the same irrational logic in your business—and it can be just as deadly there.

You KNOW there’s a big gap in your customer service, you KNOW the refund rates are going up, you KNOW the “back end” of your business isn’t keeping your customers engaged and happy, you KNOW you’re having to constantly generate 3 times as many leads as you SHOULD need, because your “stick” rate is so low.

But you can’t look.  You won’t do the customer satisfaction survey that could solve these problems and save your business, because you “just can’t bear to hear what they’ll say.”

And my friends, THAT is an absolute cancer in your business.

So, here’s the question:  Do you can have a deadly condition in your business that COULD be diagnosed and cured through a simple conversation with your customers and clients–a conversation you could have quickly, easily, and inexpensively?

If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone.

Now before you think I’m tacky and insensitive for making this analogy, let me be clear:  My husband is a cancer survivor and I’ve lost way too many friends to this horrific disease.

But when this happened, it made me think anew about what I needed to do to take care of myself and my family.  Taking care of myself means making those appointments; taking care of my family means doing the same preventive care in our business.

Here’s an example of why this is so important:  I worked with a major marketer recently who’s really skilled at avoiding many of the landmines that doom businesses to failure.

He was willing to create a survey for his community, to start the conversation. But, as we talked about how to write survey questions, he just kept saying, “I don’t want to ask that, they might say bad things!”

And THAT’S the problem.

This guy KNOWS that it costs 5 times more to get a new customer than it does to keep existing ones, but he’s not taking the simplest action imaginable to keep the customers he has, he’s not doing a REAL survey because he’s afraid to hear the truth.

That’s the story I hear, over and over, from business owners.  They’re too afraid to see reality, so they just won’t ask the question, they won’t even start the conversation with their customers and clients, they avoid learning the TRUTH of how to create a survey like the plague.

And you know what?  They’re HEARING the truth, every day.  Their customers are sending the messages, loud and clear:  Through high refund rates, in low “stick” rates, in the inability to move from lower- to higher-priced products.

It would be so much easier to find the problems and solve them BEFORE people “vote with their wallets” and find solace elsewhere.

Here’s an example:  Let’s imagine that you’re in the home healthcare business, focusing on seniors.  Your niche is competitive, the situation is often sticky because adult children are concerned about the quality of care their parents are receiving, your turnover is high.

So what SHOULD you do?  Get constant, INSTANT feedback so you can solve the problems before they turn into lost customers.

Imagine sending a text message to your clients or their children, once a week, that asks how things went that week.  So if they say the caregiver didn’t show up on time or wasn’t attentive or didn’t give the kind of care they were looking for, you can address the issue quickly.

No paper surveys they’ll throw away, no long lists of cold questions, just a quick, 4-question text that comes to their phones and gives them a chance to get it off their chests and provide you with instant feedback.

Wow.  Your whole business just changed–heck, the whole game changed, the weight just flew off your shoulders.  Just because you started the conversation.

I talked to a marketer last week who works with businesses in that niche and you know what she said?  This is EXACTLY what her businesses need, because they KNOW these problems exist, but—you guessed it—they’re afraid to hear the truth.

Don’t be like them!  Serve yourself, save your business by HAVING the conversation with your customers and clients.  Find the cancers in your business and DO something about them, before it’s too late.

I’ve never done a survey for a customer or client that didn’t turn up some problems they could fix, some tweaks we could put in place to increase their profits dramatically.

And if you think you’re JUST going to hear “the bad stuff,” think again.

You know what we ALSO get in those surveys?  No matter how bad the problems are, we also find bright spots—things they can brag about in their marketing, testimonials they can put on their websites, data they can use to prove, unequivocally, that their products work and their services change lives.

So start the conversation.

Find out where the problems are so you can fix them BEFORE they become deadly for your business and your profits.

Create the products your customers WILL buy and phase out the ones they don’t want.

Find the customer service issues and fix them, so you won’t have money pouring out the back door as fast as it’s flowing in the front.

Start giving them the information they want, so they’ll like and trust you and buy from you, over and over again.

Learn How Survey Questions Can Increase Conversions.

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2 thoughts on “Are You Scared of a Marketing Questionnaire?

    • Thanks, Henry!

      I got a couple of negative comments and a couple of positive ones on this post .. . A couple of you, who were personally affected by cancer, took umbrage at my analogy. Point taken and I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

      As I noted in the post, our family has been affected by cancer. My husband is a survivor. I had to deliver the academic-equivalent of a eulogy at professional meetings for one of my graduate mentors, who was also a dear friend, and I lost 2 of my closest family members to the disease in recent years.

      Perhaps that’s why I dealt with it so analytically. When I got that call, my first concern was for our friend, who is a fellow church member and one of the most positive people I know. Having some idea of what she and her family are going through, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

      My second thought? My family, including my 8-year-old daughter: Once I get done with all the travel I’m doing in October, I need to re-schedule that appointment i put off in June.

      My third thought was how I take CARE of my family. If this happened to me, would our business be able to take care of us all? Truth told, I haven’t done as good a job of doing “internal checkups” on our own business as I’ve done for our clients. So this post provides advice that I’ll be taking myself, to be sure our own family remains secure.

      Most of you took this post in the way in which I intended it. One of you was so kind as to note that you’re offering informational services and support for those dealing with this horrific disease and asked that I pass the information along, which I shall.

      One of the folks who was concerned about my comments has a fiance who was just diagnosed with cancer. In January, Jack and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary and the 20th year “out” from his diagnosis. Just a few weeks prior to that, we will celebrate the 9th birthday of our daughter. We are very lucky and very blessed. I hope that she and her fiance, and everyone else dealing with horrific battles, will be similarly blessed.

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