The Neediness of Marketing Surveys

Everyone needs feedback and the occasional “atta boy/girl” every once in a while. As the founder of Chick Fil-A S. Truett Cathy once put it, “If you see a person and they are breathing, they probably could use some encouragement.” Noted.  

But do we count the “after experience” marketing survey as contact?  I mean, it’s another communication from us to them and we’re asking for their time two ways — one, to read the email or text and two, to complete the “short” survey designed to improve the customer experience yada yada yada…

Let’s move to an example. I like pizza. I recently ordered a couple of pizzas to eat during Monday Night Football. What a wonderful (and greasy) Monday night. But on Tuesday morning I received not, one, not two, but THREE emails asking “How did we do?”  “Please rate our service” and frankly, it gave me post-pizza heartburn. Here’s the thing pizza restaurant, if you didn’t give me food poisoning, we’re probably good. And if you DID give me food poisoning, you would already know it because (without the surveys) you would have heard back from me.  

Another example was when we bought a new car. The process was painstakingly simple. We got a great deal and really liked the car. We understood the features and all of the fine print, etc and we took delivery of the vehicle. Successful transaction completed! Then…the emails started. First, the service dept. asking if we wanted to set up our first service appt, then the salesman asking to be rated and ranked and pleading for a top ranking to hit his employment goals, then several from the manufacturer thanking us and really saying nothing.  

During this onslaught I could FEEL my positive experience slipping away. I liked this company, liked their car and even liked the experience of buying the damn car, but this excessive and relentless email and phone barrage turned me AGAINST their brand. To this day, I still dislike them. As I always say, marketing/communications is VERY dangerous if you don’t closely monitor what you’re sending out.

As marketers, we must thoughtfully use each time we reach out to the customer to bring value to them (not to us) and really respect their time and attention. Because it’s fragile, man. You can do everything right and then screw it up by sending too many emails or texts after the transaction is over.  It comes off as needy and insecure, too. If you go on a date and the other party texts or calls you 50 times the next day, what do you immediately think of them?  —Yep. Same thing with marketing.  

It also brings up another very important marketing rule that is often ignored — EVERYTHING COUNTS.  Every time we communicate with a prospect or customer regardless of which department does it, to the customer we are one—we are legion. Thus, we need to get our marketing automation act together inside the house and SOME-BODYhas to be responsible for ALL contact to that customer. This is way harder to do in larger organizations, but it MUST be done.

Watch out for your surveys too — I know we want to measure everything, but we MUST use our empathy and say “would I like to receive three emails about my pizza experience last night?”  The answer is no. No I would not. So, we temper our enthusiasm and needy desire to hear that we did good. Let’s just assume we did good/fine unless we hear from the customer directly—and then let’s make it right.  

More contact is ALWAYS dangerous. More marketing is always dangerous and way too much contact in short period of time makes us look very needy and can easily drive people AWAY from our brand. Be careful out there because your relationships are ALWAYS at risk.