Why won?, Why lost?, Why missed?-Surveys for Greater Customer Insight

September 29th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


Customer satisfaction surveys tend to dominate thinking when it comes to surveying customers. Yet, there are plenty of other ways to gain insights into your customer base by asking a few quick questions. ‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys are just one example. And if you don’t have any customers they are also quite useful for dating.

‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys are a series of customer insight surveys that are practically guaranteed to give you the information and insights that any business requires in order to retain existing customers, win back old customers and win new business.

I first came across ‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys in my first job as a market researcher when I was straight out of university. I was immediately stuck by the simplicity of the concept but like most things often it is the simple ideas that are the best (excluding  factor and conjoint analysis).

Why Won?

Gaining a new client may mean the popping of champagne corks and a flurry if high fives all around the office.

Often little thought is put to why you may have been successful in winning the new client. A ‘Why won?’ survey seeks to answer this important question.  The key reason for doing a Why won” survey is that the information gleaned can be valuable in winning other new clients .

The underlying assumption being that if newly won customer liked feature A, then it is likely that other prospects may like feature A too. This could lead to greater promotion and emphasis being made of feature A and consequently more new customers.

The timing of a Why won? survey is important. It is best to leave some time between the customer coming on board and asking the new customer to complete the survey. Off course this depends on the type of interaction you may have with the customer but six weeks is a good rule of thumb.

The Questions
While it is not quite as simple as “Hey Bob, Why won?”, but there isn’t too much more to it than that.

The main objective of the survey is to identify the key factors why your new customer decided to go with you  and not your competition. If you have left it for six weeks you can also use the opportunity to see how your new customers are settling in. This can identify any early teething problems and enable you to stop your new customer becoming a lost customer.

The Methodology
The methodology of your survey deployment depends on a number of factors. The value of the new account comes into play along with how you will continue to communicate with your new customer. For higher value accounts I like the idea of a personalised telephone call. The call can play an integral part in the induction process of the new customer.

The person who makes the call should ideally be a neutral individual who has no role in the management of the account. In most circumstances it is ideal to use a market researcher to undertake the interview. Off course, the researcher can be calling from your organisation. The value in using an independent interviewer is that you are more likely to receive more candid and there fore more valuable information.

Online surveys can also be used instead of telephone interviews. I would be reluctant to use online surveys for high value accounts though. Responce rates are likely to be low and they will do little to strengthen the relationship or make your new customer feel welcome.

Why Lost?

Losing customers or clients is a drain on any business and often the temptation is to simply make excuses on why customers leave without capturing any data on the key reasons why they have decided to cease doing business with your organsation.

This is the purpose of the ‘Why lost?’ survey. Questions tend to focus on the key reasons why the client has made the decision to leave. It can also be useful to ask if there is anything you could do to win there business back. Often there isn’t but if there is you really want to know.

The Methodology
The methodology to use is similar to the why won surveys. The key factor is really the value of the account. Spitting out an online survey to a million dollar client will justify their decision. You just don’t care. A telephone survey would be more suitable.

Often the hardest thing with ‘Why Lost?’ surveys is actually knowing when you have lost a client. It is human nature to avoid conflict so if you client can just slip off in the dark – they will. In some industries it is fairly obvious that your customer is leaving e.g. “Hi, I want to cancel my subscription”.

Why Missed?

Often an enormous  amount of resources and energy can go into pitching for new business and unless your operating in a monopoly it is likely that you will come across business defeat in a competitive pitch.

While it is tempting in these situations to just put it down to a “numbers game” and move on if you want to learn from your defeats it is critical that you take the time to find out why your pitch was unsuccessful.

Methodlogy and process should work the same as the ‘Why won?’ and ‘Why lost” surveys.

Data Collection

With all these surveys it is essential that the data is collected in a useful and meaningful manner. It is of no value if you have various forms floating around the office.

While the data collected is incredibly useful to make quick improvements and gains to your business processes it is the longitudinal data that provides fantastic insights into how your business is tracking over time.

Competitive Intelligence

‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys will also provide you with a goldmine of competitive intelligence. This data should be tagged appropriately as it enables a complete profile of your competitors activity to constantly developed. There is no need to engage in covert espionage when you have a wealth of knowledge lurking within your customers.

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Ideas, survey design, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

When DIY Customer Satisfaction Surveys Go Horribly Wrong

September 23rd, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to find out how you are performing in the eyes of your customers. With the benefits of customer surveys generally well understood, many organisations have employed market research companies to undertake the work for them while some opt for the DIY option.

I imagine the DIY option is generally chosen because of the associated cost savings. I mean, why pay someone when you can do it yourself? That’s why I mow my own lawns, it’s not because I love lawn-mowing, it’s because I prefer not to pay someone else when I can do it myself (not to mention the degree of discomfort I feel when watching TV while having the lawn-mowing man sweating outside  – dam you lawn-mowing man for making me feel guilty!). Yet, there are sometimes when the professional touch is required, something which my experience below demonstrates.

My daughter has attended swimming lessons at the local swimming pool for a number of years. The instructors at the pool are fantastic and overall we are happy with the lessons she receives. Re-booking lessons is another matter altogether and dealing with the office staff to secure a place in the next terms lessons is never a straight forward process.

My wife was delighted then when she was approached by a pool staff member to fill in a self completed questionnaire form on how she finds the customer experience at the pool. She dutifully completed the form with her feedback which was then collected by the pool staff member. What happened next is where it went all horribly wrong.

The pool staff member read through my wife’s feedback and once you had read through the completed survey started viciously interrogating her on why she was not happy with the service from the office staff when re-booking (it so happens that she is a member of the office staff). As you can imagine my wife felt well and truly put on the spot  and stated that she did not wish to discuss her feedback with the staff member.

So, while the idea was sound – surveying your customers really is a good idea. Where the process fell over in this instance was in the execution of the survey. Enabling your customers to give anonymous feedback is really, really important. Feel free to let customers indicate if they would like to discuss any issues further – this is a good idea.

Staff members that have a direct interest in the results of any survey should not be involved in the data collection from customers. The possibility of emotions running strong is just too great a risk and can turn what should be a positive experience for customers into a a rotten one.

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

10 Best Songs to do Market Research to

September 15th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

10 research songs

Below is a list of the 10 best songs (IMHO) to do market research to.

10. Listen To What The Man Said – Paul Mccartney & Wings

9.  Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles

8. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

7. Cant You Hear Me Calling – Ricky Skaggs (This one goes out to all telephone interviewers)

6. I Can’t Be Satisfied – Muddy Waters

5. Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman

4. Some Might Say – Oasis

3. Five Short Minutes – Jim Croce (the best survey length)

2. Keep the customer satisfied – Simon & Garfunkel

1.  (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

A special mention goes to Speech De Belle who just won the 2009 Mercury prize. Before becoming a prize winning musician she was also a market researcher.

If you think I have left any songs out or challenge my ordering let me know. And for those about to survey ‘We salute you’!

Posted in Funny, Marketing Research | 8 Comments »

Google Makes Online Surveys Easier with Google Docs

September 4th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

google-docs-good-logoJust saw in TechCrunch that Google have enhanced some of the Google Doc  features which have improved Google Forms survey capabilities.

 Just last week I wrote a quick tutorial on how to build a online survey using ‘Google Forms’.

The key changes that Google have made are:

  • Introduction of grid question type - while the type of questions offered are still limited, having another to choose form is very handy.
  • Improved summary charts
  • Bi-directional Language Support- this means that questions can now appear right-to-left – great for multiple languages.
  • Sign-in to view form- this means that you can potentially secure your survey- great for sensitive type surveys
  • Pre-populate a form with parameters – gives you the ability to pre-populate fields via form URL

While the changes are a definite improvement, as I have said before, I would still hesitate in using Google Forms  for anything but  data collection or internal surveying requirements.

Posted in Online Market Research Tools | Comments Off

NZ Marketing Magazine – Under New Management

September 3rd, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

cover-sept-oct-09I was kicking myself after subscribing up to New Zealand Marketing for two years to find out a week later that 3media (the magazine publishers) had gone into liquidation. To be frank I wasn’t actually that keen on subscribing to the magazine but it was a pretty good deal (now I know why) and is really the only industry magazine that we have so felt duty bound to support it.

The beef I had with NZ Marketing (and a lot of other business magazines) is that a great deal of the contributors are industry participants who clearly have a vested interest in the topic they are writing about.  The problem I have with a lot of the articles is that often they read more like advertorials or at best tip sheets (i.e. six steps to a better brand etc.)

What the articles often are not are well balanced, objective or particularly that interesting. If you look closely you will often find an advert by a contributing writer in the same edition. Off course this is not always the case but often it is.

My other criticism of many business magazines is that many of the feature articles are banal at best consisting of incessant cheer-leading for fear of rubbing someone up the wring way and losing an advertising opportunity (the old who do you serve your readers or your advertisers chestnut). While this may help the bottom line it makes for fairly dull reading.

I was pretty excited then when I heard that HB Media had picked up the NZ Marketing masthead and were re-vamping the publication. I like what they have done with Idealog and expected good things.  It seems the team have been pretty busy over the last few months and I waspleasantly surprised when I found my brand spanking new copy of the magazine in my mailbox today.

The (new) NZ Marketing mag at first glance seems to have avoided some of my ealier criticisms judging by this editions feature article titled ‘Epic Fail’ (BTW – don’t get me started on the current trend to label screw ups as ‘fail’).

‘Epic Fail’ by Simon Young takes a hard look at the recent mismanagement of screw ups by Cadbury, Jetstar and Dominos. Quite a good read!

Key Changes

From my observation these appear to be the key changes in the new look NZ Marketing Magazine.

  • Price Increase – old marketing magazine had a cover price of $7.50, new mag is $8.50
  • Frequency – old marketing mag was monthly, new marketing mag is bi-monthly (looks like my subscription has just been chopped in half)
  • New Editor – Vincent Heeringa replaces old mag editor Graham Medcalf Graham still seems to be contributing though with two articles in the new mag written by him.
  • Two magazines in one – new mag also features the DLB which is the official magazine of the New Zealand Marketing Association. DLB use to be a large format magazine sent out to marketing association members.
  • Wave goodbye to – ‘One Consumers Opinion’, ‘Branding’,  ‘Microman’, ‘Weasel’
  • Say hello to – ‘Media’, ‘Law’, ‘Advertising’, ‘Metrics’, ‘Research’, ‘NFP’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Back Then’

All in all the new NZ Marketing is looking good and there is heaps of potential. It will be interesting to see what they do with the website, currently there is nothing much there . I can only hope that it is halfway as good as the Idealog site. The NZ Marketing site under 3M was under utilised and if HB Media was smart they will look at using the site to bring the New Zealand marketing community something which the Marketing Association website has to date failed to do.

Posted in Ideas, Marketing Research | Comments Off

Using Google Forms for Online Market Research

September 1st, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

Previously I wrote about using Google Apps to build quick and easy online surveys. Rather than take somebody elses word for it I thought I would take a closer look and find out just how easy it was.

The first step is to setup up a Google account. I guess most folks would have one by now but if you don’t it is a fairly easy process and can be done when you sign up for Google Docs. By the way if you haven’t heard of Google Docs it is essentially a bunch of office tools that are available online. The great thing is that they are based on cloud computing so the software and data is not stored on your system but stored on severs somewhere in Google land meaning you can access your documents from anywhere. Being online means it makes document collaboration a cinch too.

To demonstrate how Google forms can be used I have set up a basic survey in order to get a feel for it. Click here to have a look.

How to Set Up A Survey Using Google Forms

Once you have your set up your account you create your first survey.

1. Select form from under the ‘New’ tab

You can see that you can also select other documents including spreadsheets, word documents and presentations.

Select form

2. Select Question Type

The question types available are fairly basic but should suit the requirements for most simple surveys. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Online Market Research Tools | 8 Comments »