Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not the Most Social Customer Survey

Would this email want to make you answer a customer survey?

It would be easy, amidst the garbled HTML, to miss the part about getting an gift certificate for taking it. Or you might miss it among the page and a half of legal language, almost all of which could have been included on the web site after clicking the link.

But if you do click the link to take it, you might have the experience I did - after answer three very general demographic questions, you're unceremoniously dumped onto the Zune homepage. No gift certificate. No explanation.

The outfit behind the survey, Cross-Tab, looks legitimate enough, but you have to wonder when you see something like this. Customers generally like to provide feedback. If you send garbled emails and then promise a gift but don't come through, however, not only to they stop wanting to give you feedback... they stop wanting anything at all to do with you. (Welcome to the social, indeed.)

And it's so easy to do this correctly. Consider this survey from Cafe Press:
The email is is clear and easy to understand. It's formatted to display correctly in a web mail client. When you click the link, you go to to a survey that actually works correctly. And the coupon is offered in advance, whether you complete the survey or not - an example of trust that leaves the customer feeling good about participating, and won't leave her or him feeling ripped off if something goes wrong (as happened with Microsoft, and which can happen even to the most careful company).

Fortunately for Microsoft, there are so few Zune users that the damage should be minimal. I'm not really one of them, by the way; I downloaded the music management software that goes with the Zune just to see what they were doing, and then deleted it, but I'm on the list, even though it's one "social" that doesn't interest me much.

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