“Your opinion is important to us”…
… is the kind of phrase you may hear quite a bit these days.
Everybody, it seems, wants your opinion on something.
You may even have received more requests than usual in recent weeks… because businesses are gearing up for the critical Christmas period and forward planning for 2017.
I certainly feel opinion-survey popular.
Just as I was leaving a John Lewis store I smiled back at a woman with a friendly face and smile by the entrance.
Turns out she just wanted to know if I would help by giving my opinions about the store. In no particular rush that day, I said yes.
About 10 minutes later we were done.
I had given my views on the store. Every question answered… The feel of the place. The layout. The range of goods. The quality of goods. The price of goods. The sense of value. The cafe experience. The brand. The service. The room for improvement.
Some questions warranted a descriptive answer or comment. Some simply asked for a score – or rating – out of 10. Some required both.
The Devil is In The Detail
The survey left little to chance.
It really drilled down into the detail.
Yet it was not a painful experience. The market researcher was good at her job. Warm, friendly, encouraging yet never suggesting a particular response.
Why does John Lewis want my opinion so badly?
It’s simple. Summed up in one word.
From the survey, the company will uncover three key indicators:
What it is doing well. What it is doing badly. What aspects of its business it can improve – either instantly or longer term, for free or additional investment.
As it happens, my overall opinion of John Lewis is pretty good.
It sells quality goods. It has a distinct and clear way of laying out its stores, departments and sections so the experience is the same whichever branch you dive into. Its pricing appeals to the middle, the aspirational and (especially in an economic downturn) even the most well heeled.
The customer service is usually very good, often excellent. At times not always at those desirable heights.
John Lewis is also not resting on its laurels. It is spending many millions on advertising, including the much heralded festive TV campaigns.
The Most Critical Time
The company, like any other retail business, knows that it is in the most critical four months of the year. A time which can be make or break.
If customer opinions can help give a brand the edge, all the better.
Of course, it’s not just retailers carrying out physical surveys in store.
Businesses are pinging surveys into inboxes and texting them to your mobile.
I received this one from Vodafone just the other day.
Being professionally curious about what questions they wanted to ask me, I took part.
It involved the usual suspects…
Quality of signal and reception. Price. Service. Any opinions on how things could be better.
Plus the option for you to give permission for someone to contact you about your responses.
Why ask for that?
They Want Your Opinions For One Thing…
Remember, they want to dig deeper.
Just ONE comment, criticism or observation could transform the way Vodafone does business.
It could be the same one is emerging from the voices of many, many customers. Or there might just be one person with an idea or insight which the company has not yet thought of.
Interestingly, consumer perceptions about surveys may vary according to brand.
I’m confident John Lewis will examine all the data and make it count. Being a bit sceptical about the mobile phone industry in general, I’m less sure my opinions (or those of millions of others) will count.
When my signal is better around the country. When someone rings from customer service to say they want to switch me to a better or cheaper deal. When I receive an incentive to upgrade my phone.
Maybe then I will believe the company is listening to me.
And why is all this talk of opinions and surveys of value to you?
Well, if you’re in business let me ask you this. When was the last time YOU asked your customers and clients what they thought?
Of your products. Your services. Your prices or fees. Your quality. Your delivery. Your customer service. Your follow-up. And more beyond.
If you’d like an opinion on the words you use in your emails, pages or letters you can ask me.
Email. Text. Or fill in the enquiry form on this site.
A critique or review of your words will make them stronger. It may even transform your revenue.
Does that sound like an opinion or sound like common sense?