Gadget junk shutterstock_242553910Have you ever gone shopping and bought some electronic gadget only to find it’s collecting dust under the stairs?

Spending money on surveys can sometimes feel the same.

I know. It seems like a necessary evil.

The problem is, so much of the waste is unnecessary.

Here’s how to avoid the waste:

1) Looking under the wrong rock

Stop looking at the wrong things. In an effort to ‘save’ money, too many companies take shortcuts and get zero value. Just doing some Net Promoter Score, or a couple of surveys won’t cut it.

(See related article – Be Careful with Net Promoter Score)

2) Overstuffing the bean bag

Bean bags don’t work when they are full to the brim. Same with surveys. Less is more. I see so many clients try to stuff all sorts of questions into Mystery Shop programs and surveys. Focus on what you want to fix – it focuses the respondents, and the staff.

3) Listening with ear plugs

Some companies we used to work with would nod at our advice, and then do something completely different. Listen to the experts. I would no sooner tell a mechanic how to fix my car as I would tell you how to run your business. Same applies to surveys. Tell the experts what you need and let them do their thing.

4) Letting the floppy tail wag the dog

Here’s what happens. Poor results come out, and staff start complaining about the way the results were collected. In rare times they are right, but mostly they are wrong. The awesome staff take a bad result on the chin and fix it. The poor ones spend their time complaining instead of correcting. Don’t let the poor performers dictate the mystery shopping program  / survey design and water it down.

5) Being a pest or being mute

Some clients complain about every little leaf in the forest. Some are silent and the supplier never gets feedback (good or bad). Don’t be either of those people.

6) Eating stale bread

If mystery shopping or surveys have been the staple feedback tool, don’t let it sit there forever just because it ‘aint broken. Programs need a refresh, and most suppliers love to help. Just ask.“Oh Mary has worked here for 16 years, she would never do that?”. Well, if the data says she did, she did.

7) Trusting Mary

“Oh Mary has worked here for 16 years, she would never do that?”. Well, if the data says she did, she did. Some clients reject the facts and make decisions based on history or gut feel. Using your gut to make decisions based on facts is better than making gut decisions based on anecdotal information.

8) Scenarios from a flight simulator

I’ve seen clients complicate the scenario or questionnaire so much they seem like a horrendous emergency landing on a NASA flight simulator. Measure what’s normal, and how it’s supposed to happen. Measure the extremes after you’ve nailed the basics. Here is a real example: “This month could you please ask male Mystery Shoppers aged 45-60 to go to a chemist with symptoms requiring haemorrhoid cream?”

I always hear the excuse that there isn’t enough budget. Well usually there is. It’s just that the budget is allocated to throwing money in the trash. After that, there’s understandably nothing left.