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Friday, February 08, 2008

E-Surveys: Practicality for our industry

Mindshare President Rich Hanks

Mindshare Technologies offers a rather effective survey/client evaluation resource -- but it appears this will be useful only for larger businesses/builders. Smaller businesses and subcontractors may find they need to obtain client feedback through much more informal processes.

Early today, I observed one of the better applications of the e-survey for client follow-up. Hertz sent via Mindshare Technologies, a simple four question survey, with the most important Fred Riechheld's "Net Promoter" question saved for last. (I wished I had saved the questions exact wordings and sequence: they were useful, but -- as is the case of any well-designed survey -- once you complete the thing, you aren't allowed to set up a repeat performance.)

However, as I looked deeper into this matter, I recalled the challenges I faced in setting up our own advertiser surveys. Response is far too low to be useful; as I suspect it would be for virtually anyone in our business. We -- even on the simplest scale -- engage in projects that often require days, weeks or months of client interaction; unlike the quick, mass, transactional base relationships of retailers or even rental car companies. (In the latter, we may be 'intimate' with the product -- the rental car -- for a week or two, but we hope not to spend anywhere near that time at the rental counter!)

So, with the help of, I found the email address of Mindshare Technologies president Rich Hanks and asked him some questions about his service. Here is his response.
The most favorable use of customer feedback systems as robust as Mindshare's is in a situation where there is repetitive, transactional-type activity occurring - we work in about 25 industries where that happens - banks, restaurants, retail, car rental, airlines, golf courses, health care, etc etc.

Having said that, we do work with quite a number of construction-related organizations - Big Box suppliers, commercial builders, condo developers, time-share sales, and a residential builder or two. I assume you've been to our website to get my email address, so you've seen that we don't publish our client's names purposely. If you'd like, and I can inquire of several clients and see if they'd be willing to talk with you - but it is our policy to ask first.

Cost depends on volume of course.

The reason pricing is a bit hard to do, is because we work with companies from 8-reporting units, doing 100 surveys per month each, to a company with 35,000 reporting units across the globe doing about 65 surveys per month each.

We charge as a subscription service (like cable tv or cell phones) and not per survey. But that might be hard for your readers to translate. So, if I look at a "typical" large-scale developer, the fee would probably be around $2,000 US set-up and then the survey cost would translate to something like $1.00 per survey or less.
Yes, it seems, the e-survey techniques are best for retailers and mass marketers, or large volume organizations. I've asked Rich Hanks for the more specific examples (though I respect his point about confidentiality and obtaining permission before quoting or naming his company's clients!)

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