The client satisfaction survey is one of the most misused marketing tools employed today. Most surveys fail to obtain reliable information. Even worse, many surveys obtain misleading information.
The single most important reason to perform a survey is to determine client intentions. What your clients say doesn’t always equal intentions.
A few years ago, in a focus group, Sony Corporation asked teenagers which color of boom box they would prefer? Black or yellow? The overwhelming response was yellow.
At the end of the three-hour session, the teens were told they could pick up their choice of a free boom box as a gift for participating in the focus group.
The overwhelming choice was black! The key to client intention is not what people say, it’s what they do.
Going online, you are able to see what people are doing down to a detail, just look at your log file or analytic tool for your website.
The main problem when you look at the data from your own web site is that it is mostly from the customers you are already attracting.
To expand your business you like to get to the customers that are not looking your way. Third part data are difficult, expensive and it might not even be possibly to buy them in the offline world.
In the online world there is a big market for user data. You can make a survey, but it might be better to get data from people that are actually in the buying moment.
The biggest collectors of online data are the search engines and because they make a living of selling ads, they give it away for free.
The search engines are actually not giving the whole picture away, but only small pieces, that help advertiser just enough to see the potential in buying more ads.
With a little technical help and a lot of hard work you are able to subtract the whole picture.
You might not be able to ask people specific question, but you can get data from millions of searchers every day from most industries. What you get is the words they use to search, how many searchers there is and the online competition for the search terms.
In this way you are able to identify:
• Niches that are bigger than you thought and ready for expansion
• Niches where you have been working hard to expand your market, but the demand is simple not there for an expansion of the market
• Niches that no one are serving and is ready for you
• Niches where you might have misunderstood what clients were searching for
• What markets competitors are advertising in and thereby identifying who they are targeting in which markets
• Where you can get your own pipeline of costumers coming to you online for a bargain price
• Identifying a stream of high value costumers
This is the way you extract the information from the search engines to give you the big picture:
• Make a list of all the important words within your industry. Aim for between 1000 and 10 000 words depending on the industry.
• Extract all related words from the search engines and delete the ones that are not relevant (use several search engines to get a broader picture).
• Add information about how many people that search every day, how many ads for every keyword, the price for a click on an ad, the online competition for free search traffic etc.
You can get a more detailed description on how to make a keyword report here, a working sample keyword list/report with the top 100 keywords here and a more detailed description on how to use a keyword report here.
Stop wasting your money on client satisfaction surveys or at least justify your action in the comment.