Survey Me -- or Else

We had an interesting experience yesterday in the office, which is prompting me to write a short post about surveys.

I'm always amazed at how little many organizations know about their audiences, when finding out is so very easy. Given that the technology is inexpensive (we offer an unlimited SurveyMonkey account for $100/year), I think the main reason managers don't survey more often is that they somehow feel that audience will be annoyed at being asked a bunch of questions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, people LOVE to give their opinions. This was proved in spades today when, after sending out a survey to our clients, one of them responded as follows:

Sort of a waste of my time that you sent a message asking for my input. I
had to type in my contact info and then when you found out that I didn't use
an automated ticketing system, you terminated the survey. I'll be much less
likely to "help you out" next time.

The subject line of the survey was clear: "We want to learn more about your ticketing needs." Of course, for those that don't have ticketing needs at all, the survey itself was very short! But that data point itself (whether or not an organization uses a ticketing system) is still valuable information for us.

When this colorful response came in, a few staff members were taken aback. Why was this guy so upset?

After thinking about it for a while, it hit me that the reason this guy got pissed off is that we didn't give him enough of a chance to give his opinion!  He was dying to do the survey – he looked forward to it, and when the survey ended too quickly for him, he was frustrated.

Doesn't that amaze you? It did me.

Next time you wonder if your audience wants to give you feedback, don't think twice. They do – and they will.

So start surveying. You'll be amazed at what you will learn.

Learn More about PatronManager, the powerful CRM platform that helps you sell more tickets, raise more money, and cultivate stronger bonds with your audience, all in one database.

3 responses to “Survey Me — or Else

  1. Uh, don’t you think he was pissed because your title should have been more informative? “What more does your automated ticketing system need?” Then he’d have known that you weren’t talking to him. You are correct, of course, that people like to give their opinion, just like I am now. However, they also feel like they are GIVING the asker something. I think that’s what you missed in this person’s response. “I am being generous here, so don’t waste my time.” It is, after all what he said, too. I think it’s essential if you are going to survey folks that you not leave them feeling abused or misled.

  2. It’s interesting – I felt a similar reaction to the above patron. I was disappointed because though we don’t currently have an in-house ticketing system in place, it is something we have been talking about for a while now. When I read the email invitation to the survey, I looked forward to the opportunity to give input on the new system, thereby increasing the chances that whatever PatronMail is going to offer in the future will actually be relevant to my organization. Personally, I think PatronMail missed an opportunity by not exploring *why* some organizations do not yet have in-house ticketing and, therefore, what you could do differently to appeal to that segment of the market.

  3. I agree with David. I think you’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion here! I wouldn’t be pissed because I was dying to give my opinion and didn’t get to do so. I would be pissed that I consented to help you out, generously giving of my limited time, and then you wasted it. Some up-front qualifiers would have solved the issue.

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