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How we can find out what our customers think

I received the most elegant piece of market research the other day, and I thought the idea was worth sharing.

The survey came from an online service I’ve used in the past occasionally, and may one day use again. However, the relevant thing was that it stated clearly that it was only being sent to customers of the service, who were clearly all from a specific stated demographic with which I would identify. Let’s say it was ‘blue widget enthusiasts in the UK’.

That was me. I was onboard immediately.

The survey, according to the covering note, was trying to find out what blue widget enthusiasts in the UK thought at the moment, and the more of us who responded, the more comprehensive the picture it could paint would be.

But the neat twist was this: all of us who completed the survey would be sent the results for free, and that was the only way we were ever going to find out what the results were.

Fear of missing out

I wanted to complete the survey for two reasons. Firstly, I guess that I wanted to be considered part of the blue widget enthusiasts in the UK tribe. Secondly, I wanted to see the results and find out what other blue widget enthusiasts thought.

The survey told me at the start how many questions were involved (quite a few), and how long it should take (not that long). It also assured me that the responses were anonymous. I would be given a chance to be sent the results quite separately.

It delivered. I completed the survey (which, by the way, was done with just a free Google Form) and at the end, I was given a one-click email link to request to be sent the results, in a few days’ time. That separation would have been enough, had I been concerned, to assure me that the survey was anonymous.

I did indeed receive the results the next week. They were presented as a nice interesting email, they thanked me for taking part, and they made me feel that I was part of the crowd. How the results will be used to help the service which sent it out, I don’t know. But presumably they’ll be useful; the correspondence reminded me of the brand concerned; and the exercise made me feel part of a group which involved both the sender and a community. Everybody won.