Customer Surveys as Promotional Tool: The Uber Elevate Case Study

Has anyone been asked to take part in the Uber Elevate Customer Survey?  It’s a great example of a survey done right, mainly because it’s more than just a survey – it’s a great piece of promotional marketing.  

Customers survey’s are straight out of the basic marketer’s playbook.  Ask your customer for feedback and then incorporate that into a process of continuous improvement.  Those that have their finger on the pulse of the market are more likely to succeed.  

But the Uber Elevate customer survey goes way beyond that.  It gets a few key criteria right, the most important of which is that it opens the brand to discussions with their customer, engaging them on future products.

Here’s How to Get the Most Results from Your Customer Survey:

#1  Make Sure the Context is Appropriate

Don’t interrupt the customer experience.  Customers are typically approached as they’ve landed on the home page or after they’ve completed a purchase or a phone call.  In both situations you’re asking your customer to stop what they were intending to do.  

What Uber did right: They reached out to me via email and I was able to consider completing it, and do it on my own time.  

#2  Have a Clear Value Proposition

A typical survey has questionable benefit to the customer.  (“Do you mind taking a minute to complete a brief survey”.  Yes, I do.  They tend to be presented as dry and without considering the internal value calculation someone makes before parting with their time.  

What Uber did right: The email read “You’ve been selected for a unique survey…  You’re a valued customer of ours and your input will help influence future designs… We know you’re busy and greatly appreciate your time”.  

#3  Align with Your Brand

Too many survey’s lack focus.  I see a lot of surveys where the company is fishing for information but provides no direction or alignment with their brand strategy.  They want to know what to improve and are relying too much on the customer.  

What Uber did right: Uber showcased an exciting and proposed new service offering.  They had good-looking graphics that teased the aircraft, the interior, the terminal and other aspects of the service.  They positioned themselves as a leader and innovator in the space.  

And just as importantly, they engaged the customer in a discussion of what this service could and should look like.  There were questions about specific brand experiences such as what type of food would you expect at the terminal (quick concessions or more premium options).  

#4  Ask the Right Questions

You have to design the survey so that you get the data that will inform your business decisions.  Qualtrics is the technology platform that powered the Uber survey and is a great source of information.  Foresee and SurveyMonkey are also good.

Not every brand is going to have a product or service that is as cool as Elevate.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Let’s say you want to figure out where to improve in general.  You can still create some context to build a better survey.  Try this:

“We are considering a premium offering to enhance our service.  Since you’re one of our most valued customers, we’d like to invite you to take a 1 minute survey that will help us better understand where to focus – on our product functionality or support services.”   

It probably goes without saying but you’ve got to be able to deliver on it.  Otherwise it’s hype and you’ll lose trust.  It has to be intentional, realistic, and aligned with your brand vision.  We all believe that Uber has a chance to deliver this service at some point, as far-reaching as it is today.    

Quick Note on Uber’s Brand

It has to be noted in any discussion on Uber and Brand, that Uber’s brand has suffered considerably this past year.  Even within the last few days they’re in the news again.  This article highlights only this survey as exemplary, and not other aspects of their business.  Although, I believe their new CEO is making the right moves.

I’d love your thoughts – what’s working for you and what isn’t with respect to surveys.  Please leave a comment and share any other great examples (dos or don’ts) that this group would enjoy.  

Further Reading

  1. I don’t have access to the survey but the related website and white paper below contain a lot of the same visuals –
  2. The Cluetrain Manifesto – the great, and now ancient book, on markets as conversations and how to have authentic and credible conversations with your customers

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