Surveying outside of the box

Outside The Box

Let’s face it we are now working in era where engagement is king. From a survey perspective, this means keeping our research short, on focus and as visual as possible. Long surveys that require the respondent to work through countless questions, many of which will not be relevant to them, can no longer be the norm.

Stephanie Kimball, of Chadwick Martin Bailey, in a recent blog post spoke about a survey experience she had while eating out. The restaurant brought her check along with an iPod Touch attached to a cutting board. Loaded on the iPod was a 10-question satisfaction survey. Not only did this event shift her focus from the bill to the survey, it’s ‘out of the box’ presentation has assured the restaurant chain improved acceptance of its survey. That fact alone has helped the chain hone in on issues with its overall customer experience.

The point here is the restaurant stepped outside of the box in its pursuit of improving customer satisfaction. The common denominator in retail satisfaction research is the mention of a survey at the bottom of the receipt (call this number, key in this code, answer questions and maybe you will qualify for the weekly drawing). This is only slightly better than the comment card left on the table.

The important takeaway is the idea that we as survey authors and marketers can create engaging survey experiences. Improving our customer experience is often a significant corporate goal, but we often fail to include our surveys as part of that concept of experience. Get up, step outside of your box and think about how you can improve the experience your respondents face when they take your survey.


About the Author

Greg TimpanySince 1988 Greg has delved into the world of marketing, analytics and strategy. His expertise bridges the space between the structured world of IT and the creative, customer-centric needs of marketing. His thought leadership is sought out by executives in B2B, B2C and the public sector. Currently he directs the research efforts for Cary, NC based Global Knowledge. In addition he is a contributing author to the Cvent Survey blog; an instructor for Meredith College and Research Rockstar. As an entrepreneur he is co-founder of Anova Market Research. Past engagements have included working with The Los Angeles Times, Guitar Center and Wilkin Guge Marketing. He can be followed at: and all posts by Greg Timpany →