On the eve of Jacobs Media's Tech Poll III, we've been doing a great deal of thinking about the power of research, and how companies and stations use it effectively - and not so effectively. A recent issue of Online Spin clarifies the pros and cons of surveying customers through the eyes of Fred Reichheld, the father of "Net Promoter."
If you've never seen or heard about the "Net Promoter" concept, it's a simple, and yet, powerful way of measuring customer loyalty. Using a basic 0-10 scale, the NP score can reveal a great deal about your customers' (audiences') tendency to tell others about your product (station). We are using this exact question in many of our web polling projects, including last year's Tech Poll. We will be repeating the question again this year for trending purposes.
At a recent conference, Reichheld discussed the positive aspects, as well as the dark side of conducting customer-based research. He warns about respecting respondents, and making sure surveys aren't excessively long. Reichheld also talks about the importance of being open to what customers are saying, and providing them with the opportunity to provide open-ended responses to questions. We do this in all our web polling, and the results are often amazing. Consumers - especially those who take the time to complete these surveys - often provide a fountain of knowledge and insight - if you take the time to sift through it all and take it to heart.
Finally - and this is a key point - research can also function as marketing. But stations need to provide survey takers with some data in return. If you think about the web surveys you participate in, one of your key desires (in most cases) is finding out how others responded to the same questions you answered. When stations take the time to thank respondents, and show them some key survey results, it brings the audience even closer to the station.
It also provides programmers with the chance to show how they're responding to audience feedback. If listeners say they want the opportunity to submit playlists to the station, for example, and you then present this type of feature, the end result becomes even more meaningful. Listeners feel their opinions are being heard, and better yet, showing up in the station's programming. This process converts already valuable listeners into advocates. And isn't that what we're trying to accomplish in the first place?