This image is from the Resources -- Client Surveys page of the website from Conceptual Construction and Design, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. I don't know how well their surveys work -- but will ask them!
After we published the December issues of our newspapers in Ontario and North Carolina, I sent out 60 five-question client surveys to our advertisers. I deliberately kept the survey short, and sought to ask very brief questions that, ideally, would provide the kinds of insights to indicate whether we are doing things right. I also offered respectful opportunities for feedback and comment -- and avoided the horrendous multi-page, dozens of complex question surveys that rightfully no one in their right mind would answer.
Our response to date. Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zip. Some people who read the email opened the survey questionnaire, but none completed it.
Hmm, why is this happening, and what can I do about it?
First, I'm cautious -- I think the one thing I find more irritating to a conventional telemarketing call, is a survey call. I simply decline to participate in ALL phone surveys, no matter what (I suppose if my best customer asked me to participate, I would, but I certainly would not be interested in responding if I was the customer.) On a consumer level, this issue reared its head when I purchased a new car a few years ago. The sales rep told me the survey call would happen, and if I could put in a good word it would help. Besides feeling this was somewhat fake, I simply hate phone surveys. So No.
Alright, but here I was using a simple online survey. And I will complete these, if they are simple, and I feel strongly about things, either good or bad. If good, it doesn't hurt to share the good news. If bad, I've learned through experience that the well-run business will get the word, and make good!
So, does that mean the fact that no one responded that we didn't do anything great, but didn't do anything really bad? Like, kind of mediocre? Maybe. Maybe not. I just don't know. With absolutely no response, I can't measure anything, except that no one responded.
This raises some important questions, because the books I am reading emphasise the importance of metrics -- in measuring our data and determining success -- but if the measurement process is intrusive or inconvenient, what are we really learning. And if no one responds to a non-intrusive survey, how can we know what is happening?
Usually in this blog, I'm ready to offer advice and suggestions. But this one has me stumped, so far. I'll read and do some research and share whatever findings I can discover in future issues. But if you have some thoughts, please let me know. I can send you the survey I just tried. You can respond by the comment function or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.