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What’s Wrong With Surveys, And How We Fixed Them

Matt Bahr

At EnquireLabs we consider post-purchase surveys to be a no-brainer, but a big part of that confidence comes from working to solve some of the natural shortcomings of the standard survey -- a marketing tool that’s been around longer than all the social media networks combined.

Surveys Have Low Data Portability

Imagine traveling to a foreign country and seeing a power outlet that doesn’t fit anything you own. That’s what survey and market research data look like to most martech stacks.

Survey results often have to stand on their own merits, because the platforms they’re built on and the data they collect just don’t play nice with automated operations. We saw this as a major stumbling block for qualitative market data, which is why EnquireLabs focuses on delivering insights that seamlessly optimize and contextualize the core metrics you already focus on.

Surveys Steal Digital Real Estate

Free space fills up quickly in the world of Ecommerce, and the more effectively you run your brand, the more competitive your own properties become. Every part of your presence has opportunity cost -- if you send out an email survey, that’s a piece of real estate that could’ve been a referral promotion or an upsell opportunity.

Surveys can be a burden in this sense because they are asking your customers for something, rather than offering them something. Why use up valuable space just to make your customers do work? We couldn’t agree more, which is why our post-purchase surveys sit right on the order confirmation page. Through our research, we found this to be the optimal placement. Here’s why:

  1. Your customer is in a happy place and open to the ask, especially if they’re appreciative of the referral source who helped them discover your product
  2. Memories fade -- your best chance for accurate attribution is going to come from this moment, the birth of your customer. There will be plenty of time for upsells and referrals in your business relationship.
  3. Survey fatigue has to be taken into consideration. Placing our one-question survey on a page that every consumer understands is temporary means they know it’s now or never, and only takes a second (literally) to complete. Keeping our survey lightweight during a moment of focus is vital to making it effective, and vital to keeping it out of the way of your other brand engagement opportunities.

Surveys Are Subjective

An inevitable reality of surveys is that you can’t give customers a platform to communicate and then expect them to fit perfectly into a box. Some of them won’t answer. Some of them won’t understand. Some of them won’t remember the truth, or will feel compelled to answer in a way that makes them look good.

These limitations and biases present a constant challenge for many a market researcher. We aimed to build a survey whose content was easy and engaging enough to yield high participation, relevant enough to be easily answered with a high degree of recall, yet flexible enough that we don’t mistakenly filter out the unexpected gems. In fact, that last point is crucial to the value of surveys, and why subjectivity has a place in marketing analytics: there will be credit erroneously awarded through pixel trackers, traffic sources unseen by your analytics programs, and attribution models that fail to account for intangible impacts. Surveying your customers mitigates those quantitative shortcomings.
Point is, subjectivity isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all; you just need to channel it productively. Take a spin with our free trial to see how we achieve all this zen.

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