A few months ago in one of our weekly creative meetings, our Holmes team was putting together some internal marketing plans when a question came up. Someone shared that they had spoken with a client who did not know that Holmes was still a fully functioning print production company. Someone else added that another client was unaware of any services Holmes offered beyond printing. Our meeting conversation quickly shifted, and we began asking, “What do our clients really think of us? Do they even know everything we can do for them?”
We decided that the absolute next step was sending a client survey to every customer we have worked with, both local and national. We spent a total of three meetings discussing, drafting, and finalizing the questions, and ended up creating two surveys to cater specifically to our different groups of clients. The goal of our surveys was to answer the question we had come up with in that initial meeting. “What do YOU think Holmes does?” Though we talked about different directions and more detailed information, we kept reminding ourselves of our larger goal throughout the entire process.
It was interesting that we had been working so hard to try new marketing efforts and build on our social media platforms to reach our clients, but had been guilty of forgetting to ask them what they thought or how our efforts were working. We based decisions on data and patterns of the past, but had not asked direct questions with opportunities for anonymous, honest responses in quite a while. We realized just how much we wanted to ask and discuss with our clients once we started developing the survey questions.
There was no contact information required on our surveys. We provided an open “comments” section, as well as an optional email address field at the end of both surveys, and then required the answers to all other questions. There were seven questions total with some open-ended, some multiple choice and some ranking questions. We thought the mixture of questions and the brief length of the survey would encourage more clients to quickly submit their input.
Our surveys went out to the different groups via email, once each week for three consecutive weeks. We factored in potential summer vacations and business travel and sent the surveys multiple times in an effort to reach everyone. The percentage of responses to the first round of emailed surveys was less than we had hoped. However, we received a significant number of responses following both the second AND third rounds! We ended up with what we feel was a great sampling of the perspectives of our various clients, and more importantly a new direction for our internal marketing, supported by research and results.
We have made plans to send regular surveys to our clients as we move forward. We will continue to try different methods and analyze the success of each attempt. The most important thing however, is that we plan to keep talking and listening to our clients as we look for ways to better meet their needs.
Have you sent surveys? What methods worked for you? Share your experiences in a comment below!