Stretch Those Survey Muscles

The Higgs boson discovery. The London Olympic Games. And Zarca’s new 9.5 Release.

Yes, summer 2012 is one for the record books.

Just like those ridiculously lithe gymnasts, Version 9.5 possesses exceptional flexibility. Whether you’d like to login to your Zarca account directly from your desktop, protect your public surveys from non-human participants by using CAPTCHAs, or send Private Access invitations and post a Public Access link for the same survey, Version 9.5 has all those features plus oh-so-many more.

Your invitees will enjoy an easier, more eye-catching survey experience, while you’ll relish the chance to get more creative with your survey layouts. The end result of all this flexibility?  Higher response rates.

So check out Version 9.5 today. It’s a win/win. (Minus the gold medals.)

Hello, I Must Be Going . . .

You know that uncomfortable feeling when you pass the same person in the hall over and over and over? You go from saying a friendly “Hi!” to a more subdued “Hey” to an interior “My head’s down because I’m pretending to check my BlackBerry” as you stealthily slink on by.

You may not have any control over how many times a day you run into certain co-workers, but you can ensure that you don’t wear out your welcome with survey participants.

Zarca’s Touch Rules Management allows you to filter out certain people who have already received a certain number of survey invitations from you, or who have already participated in a certain number of your surveys on or after a particular date.

By managing your participant lists with Touch Rules Management, you show your respondents that you not only value their feedback but also respect their time. So, when they do hear from you, they’ll be more likely to participate in your surveys.

Avoid over-surveying with Zarca’s Touch Rules – your participants will remain loyal, and you’ll enjoy higher response rates.

Does Friday Feel Like Monday?

Everyone has a bad day at the office. Even the co-worker who greeted me daily with a way-too-peppy, “Good morning, Sunshine!” occasionally did so through gritted teeth. Nobody should expect to love their job every minute of every day.

But if you — or your employees — are having more bad days then good, and feeling an overall sense of dissatisfaction and lack of motivation, then action must be taken. According to Aon Hewitt, the global human resource consulting and outsourcing business of Aon Corporation, global employee satisfaction is at its lowest level since 2008. Worldwide, 44% of all employees feel a disconnection between their individual roles and their employers’ organizational goals.

It’s no wonder, then, that a majority of new visitors to the Zarca Interactive website are searching for information about Employee Satisfaction Surveys. Just in the U.S. alone, businesses are losing $370 billion annually to apathetic employees, yet 70% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy.

If employee satisfaction is a topic of concern at your company, let Zarca Interactive help you get to the root of the problem so you can take appropriate action. We’ll work with you to ask just the right questions, monitor employee responses with real-time reporting, and create and run customized, powerful reports.

Get started by checking out best practices for conducting Employee Engagement Surveys. After all, the only thing worse than an office full of unhappy employees is an executive suite full of oblivious managers.

Saying Thanks & Making Amends

Love getting gifts, but hate writing thank-you notes?

Whether you’re eight or 80, thank-you notes are something to tackle quickly and be done with, if only to stop the guilt trip from your mom — or your conscience. Of course, we all know it’s good manners to thank Aunt Edna for the birthday sweater or your boss for the holiday trinket box topped by a disturbingly furry reindeer, but, even more importantly, we know we need to maintain those relationships if we ever hope to receive another gift. Or a decent performance review.

Zarca is an expert in correctly managing relationships.  With our new feature, Rules & Alerts, every one of your survey participants will be instantly thanked with little or no effort on your part. Simply set your desired condition — such as Completed Response Received — and a well-crafted thank-you note will instantly sail through cyberspace, landing in a duly impressed respondent’s in-box. After all, who doesn’t appreciate instant feedback, especially when it’s a courteous thank you?

But as important as it is to keep happy customers happy, it might be even more crucial to reach out to those customers or potential customers who aren’t so pleased to begin with.

For instance, I recently filled out a car rental survey, where I wrote about first being presented with someone else’s bill when dropping off my car (a good three times what I really owed) and then, once that was remedied, opening my credit card statement a month later to see I’d been double-charged. What response did I receive when I submitted my survey? None. What company did I rent my next car from? Not that one.

So here’s a real game-changer.

You receive a survey response that’s negative in some way. Maybe the answer option “Unsatisfied” was checked. Maybe an open-ended answer contains the word “Unhappy.” Or maybe, “Would you frequent our establishment again?” was answered with, “Highly Unlikely.” Reach out to that soon-to-be-former customer right now. Not in two weeks when the survey closes. Now.

Simply set your customizable condition, and you’ll instantly receive an email with the negative response. Then you can take appropriate action to win your customer back. Chances are, the recipient will be so stunned to hear from you that the original complaint will be forgotten — or at least forgiven. You may even find yourself with a customer for life.

We all want to feel like someone’s listening, that we’re not just whistling in the wind. Zarca’s Rules & Alerts makes it easy to open your ears, take immediate action and maintain those key relationships. (But, sorry, you’re on your own with Aunt Edna.)

How May I (Not) Help You?

A few Fridays ago, a friend and I made plans to meet at a local restaurant for a few games of pool after work. I knew this place sometimes closed the pool table rooms for private events, so I called ahead to make sure the tables would be available that night.

Me:  “Hi. I just want to make sure there’s no private event tonight and the pool tables will be open.”

Employee:  “They’re open now.”

(It’s 12:30 on a Friday afternoon.)

Me :  “Hmm. Well, I’m at work now.  I’m calling to see if they’ll be available tonight.”

Employee:   “I don’t know.”

Me:  “Could you maybe [hate to inconvenience her] . . .   find out?”

Everyone has a frustrating customer service story where you’re left wondering if the company is purposely trying to drive away business. Conversely, customer service that goes beyond expectations can turn around a bad experience.

For example, my teenage son loves going to a certain restaurant even though the kitchen almost always messes up our order, and we have to wait a really long time to get our food. But, without fail, the manager comes to our table, apologizes profusely and gives us a free appetizer or dessert. The last time we ate there, the kitchen once again had to remake my order. But, this time, the manager insisted on comping not just that one dish, but our entire bill. This restaurant obviously has a systemic problem in its kitchen, but their outstanding customer service is what stays foremost in my mind.

As part of Zarca’s marketing team, I often speak to clients about their experiences using our online survey software. Yes, they love our advanced features and flexible pricing and real-time reporting. But what I hear over and over is how impressed our clients are with our customer service.

Whether they are signing a contract with our sales team, training on the platform with our account managers or troubleshooting with our technical support staff, here’s what our clients are saying:

“Extremely helpful.”

“Beyond professional.”

“Always quick to respond.”

We could have the most innovative, cutting-edge online survey platform in the world (and — admittedly biased — I believe we do), but apathetic, discourteous customer service could instantly trump all the hard work of our design team.

So remember to put as much energy into the client-facing side of your business as you put into your product or service. One positive or negative experience may be all it takes to win or lose a valuable customer.