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  • August 22, 2011

A Tale of Two Survey Emails

From: Zipcar
Subject Line: Zipcar Satisfaction Survey
Date: Monday, August 22, 2011

From: Decipher Research
Subject Line: Virgin America invites you to share your thoughts about your recent flight!
Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From: Decipher Research
Subject Line: REMINDER: Virgin America invites you to share your thoughts about your recent flight!
Date: Monday, August 22, 2011

While I appreciate the idea
behind Customer Survey emails, I find myself annoyed when I receive them
if they aren't well-executed. These two examples from Virgin and Zipcar
recently came to my inbox, and while they are both super-simple in
execution (plain text and HTML light respectively), the tones are very
different from each other, and only the Zipcar email compelled me to
follow through. (For professional purposes I actually attempted both
surveys, but more on that later)

The email on Virgin's behalf sent by Decipher Research could take a few lessons from the Zipcar email.

  • The
    sender: Zipcar's email was sent by Zipcar vs. Virgin's email was sent
    by a 3rd party, which feels slightly off-putting to me. I know, trust
    and respect Virgin as a brand, but previously knew nothing about
    Decipher Research... and the email was signed off by "Hall & Partners, research partner of Virgin America". Again, I don't know them. (For the record, I am a huge fan of Virgin's regular email program)
  • The subject lines: Zipcar Satisfaction Survey vs. Virgin America invites you...
    Zipcar's is short and very to the point. Virgin's is longer than it
    needs to be, and by using the the word "invites", I got my hopes up that
    there might be some sort of offer or incentive. Also the REMINDER in
    all caps for the second send bothered me... Don't shout at me! Why didn't you
    take the hint I don't want to complete your survey the first time?!
  • The greeting: Dear Customer vs, Hi Lyla. I appreciate the personal greeting from Zipcar. 
  • The general tone and content: all business for Virgin vs. casual and friendly for Zipcar. Again, the bolding and underlining in the Virgin email seems overly strong.

for the survey itself, my feelings towards the emails carry over to
the the overall experience. The Zipcar email requests that I take the
"2-minute" survey which links to the Zipcar site. Of their 4 total
questions 3 were multiple choice, so it is truly a speedy experience. The
Virgin survey claims to be 5 minutes. I won't know for sure how long it
would have actually taken for me to fully complete, because I got
annoyed with it for not allowing me to skip answers, and having a
forceful tone about it. Additionally, the first 10 questions that I did
answer before I gave up, were all about information that I assume Virgin
would have about me anyways based on my flight bookings.

bottom line is, if you are going to ask your customers to take a survey,
make sure that you keep it simple, and be cautious with your tone.
Ideally, there should be some sort of incentive, such as a driving or
flight credit, but at the very least provide your customers with a
survey taking experience that is easy and pleasurable.

08222011_Zipcar.png 08172011_Virgin.png 08172011_Virgin_Survey.png

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