Survey Monkey: when support overcomes poor design decisions

I have been using Survey Monkey software for more than ten years. Over that time I have seen it become more and more cumbersome and complicated. I used to be able to put surveys together without thinking. It was so simple and smooth. I have a lot of colleagues who have used Survey Monkey over the years and I never used to get any questions from them. Then, the questions started coming: How do you do this? How do you do that?

For example:

“How do clear the responses from survey X?”

“It’s in the “More” option at the far right of Survey X”

“No, it’s not.”

“What do you mean?”

“The only options are “share, copy and delete.”

“That’s really confusing.”

And then we set up a call, and then I realize they’re in the stupid “Dashboard” section which for some reason doesn’t allow you to clear responses. And on and on and on, up to a point that I now find it a real challenge using Survey Monkey, when ten years ago I found it so simple and wonderfully easy.

Of course, this is not new. Many products become more complicated over time. Sometimes, that’s because of enhanced functionality but it’s also because new features and redesigns are how designers and managers stamp their mark on a product.

The thing that keeps me using Survey Monkey is its exceptional support. Their support is designed to make my life easier not theirs. It starts at the very beginning. When I have a problem, I don’t have to “open a ticket” because that’s not what I want to do: I want to solve my problem as quickly and easily as possible. Instead, Survey Monkey let me send an email to support. And they reply really quickly with friendly, helpful advice. This is not an accident. It’s part of their culture.

According to a study by TalentLMS, SurveyMonkey consistently delivers excellent customer support by:

  • Investing a lot of time and energy in product training.
  • Keeping staff in the loop by providing ongoing training.
  • Communicating clearly how important customer service is for the business.
  • Making data central to decision-making. Use lots of different data sources to build insight.
  • Employing nice, friendly people and using emotional intelligence to de-escalate tough situations.

“We actually train specifically on emotional intelligence and how to build and leverage those skills during tougher customer interactions,” Dan Henig, Vice President, Customer Operations at SurveyMonkey explains. “At the end of the day, customers are rarely angry with an individual, but rather with the situation they’re struggling to resolve.” In an age of technology, automation and AI, being professionally friendly can be a key competitive differentiator.

A characteristic of successful companies today is that they embrace technology AND human potential. Combine emotional intelligence with data and you are likely to see better insights and better decisions. Great people and great technology deliver great products and services. A friendly, emotionally intelligent, knowledgeable, technology-supported professional has all the tools and skills required to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience.

Lessons from SurveyMonkey

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