When I went to my neighborhood Starbucks last week, the Barista gave me a number to call to answer a survey about their store. It seems like a simple request on one level, but so far I haven’t called. Why? Responding takes time, and Starbucks is competing with requests from hotels, restaurants, auto dealerships – and even religious organizations – who all want to know what I think.
Here’s the problem: despite the obvious effort that was spent designing these surveys, no one has given me a compelling reason to respond to them. The goodness of our hearts? I don’t think so. And please don’t insult us by implying that receiving a $1(US) bill can be considered compensation for taking the energy to give thoughtful answers.
So to all service providers, if you really want to find out what’s on your customers’ minds:
- Provide us with information before we go through the exercise of answering questions, regarding how and when you intend to use the information we give you.
- Keep us posted about specific steps that you’ll be taking to do things differently or better because we took the time and effort to respond (a special link on your website)
- Give us a gift that we will value (perhaps $5 on a Starbucks card, or one-time preferred check in at the hotel) – something that demonstrates partnership.
The more that you make your customers feel truly valued for giving their opinions, the more likely you are to tap into what’s actually on their minds.