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I don't want to take your @#$% survey

by Alexandra Reilly, MB Piland surveyRecently I received a letter from a business along with a survey. “I want to get to know you and your company,” the letter said.

But it was just plain lazy.

A paper survey was enclosed. No email address was provided. No web address to take the survey electronically. I was going to have to dig out an envelope and a stamp so that this business owner can get the scoop about me and my business, and then call me in a couple weeks to make a pitch.

Really. Why should I (or anyone) take your @#$% survey? If you’ve served me in some way, I might be glad to help. But if I don’t know you, frankly, what’s in it for me?

knowledge is power Here are 5 ways to shift your approach if your efforts to collect intelligence are falling short.

1) Have a Clear Purpose What do you want to learn from your survey? Are you trying to find an appropriate product extension, new service, improve service? Keep in mind what you'll do with the information, and then write questions to support that goal. Be strategic.

Bonus thought: test your survey with employees or a small circle of trusted customers before you blast it out to the world. This gives you the opportunity to tweak or correct something that could adversely affect survey participation and results.

2) Start With Customers Your current customers are your best prospects. Once you have them, it’s a lot easier to keep them than to woo new ones. Before you ask a stranger, ask customers how you’re doing, where you can improve and what new offerings may be of interest.

3) Get to Know Your Prospects Your prospect profile should spring naturally from the profile of your best current customers. But your prospects might be facing different barriers. You want to find out more about their wants, needs and challenges, but be respectful of their time when you ask for their input. Make it easy for them to participate. If you must give them a paper survey, a return envelope with postage will increase responses.

4) Give Them Something If you ask for something, you need to give—or at least offer—something in return. Offer a discount, a sample, a chance to win or other incentive for people to share their thoughts with you on your survey.

5) Say Thank You We’re taught this from a very early age, but sometimes we forget our manners. When you ask someone to do something for you, like take your survey, thank them in advance and thank them afterwards. You really can’t say it enough.


Alex_Reilly Alexandra Reilly, MB Piland Alex joined MB Piland in 2005, leading major initiatives for many of the agency's clients. Her experience includes developing and implementing marketing blueprints, leading research projects, brand image re-launches, business development and training programs, corporate magazines and newsletters, point-of-purchase materials and web sites.

Alex is passionate about organizations and causes that make the world a better place. Her volunteer work includes the United Way, Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy and the Auburn-Washburn School Foundation. She was a YWCA Women of Excellence Honoree in 2009 and IABC's 2012 Communicator of the Year. - See more at: http://www.mbpiland.com/people/alex-reilly#sthash.lvDQYM6N.dpuf

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