Each month, John Bowman picks a new cool piece of technology that helps Customer Success Managers be more productive. We call it “Apps For Success” and in this review (#17) he takes a closer look at Google Forms.
This month in Apps for Success we’re going to be talking about customer research. The app we will be focusing on is Google Forms. Google Forms is a great way to survey your customers to gain actionable insights and improve your customer experience. Consider it the secret weapon for great Customer Success!
I don’t care who you are, how long you’ve been working with your target market, or how often you talk to your customers. You need to be intentional about your customer research if you want to stay ahead of your customer base.
You may say, “But John, my customer base has been the same since the company started.” I’m sorry, my friend, that’s just not true. It can’t be true. Everything changes. It’s the nature of our world and you need to change with it. You may be working in the same industry but your customers’ needs shift and morph throughout time.
What worked a year ago will not work as well today. You have to stay close to your customer, zig when they zig, and zag when they zag. The only way to do that is to constantly stay curious about your customer.
At least once a year, I highly advocate you do some fundamental research about your customer base. Who are they? What do they read? What does a typical day look like for them? What software are they using? What your buyer personas? Who is your most profitable customer in your book of business? Why is that? How can you replicate it? Etc.
The only way to answer these questions is through qualitative and quantitative research. And yes, you need both. Even if you pride yourself on being a data-driven company you still need qualitative research and interviews to give context to your data. (This post isn’t about the qualitative research though. If you’re curious, check out how to do a Jobs To Be Done Interview. Here is a great example video. If you’ve never heard of Jobs to Be Done, check out Competing Against Luck)
Enter Google Forms. Google Forms is the free and easy way to get great data from your customers. The only way to figure out who your customer is is by asking your customers questions. Google Forms allows you to ask those questions in an easy and simple format. And it logs all results in a spreadsheet for you. I love spreadsheets!
[Standard disclaimer here. I own no part of any of the apps for Customer Success Managers I’ll be reviewing in this column. The opinions contained in this review are mine and mine alone. SuccessHACKER is kind enough to lend me their microphone. If you happen to disagree, leave a comment and let me know! I love a good spirited debate.]
What do you like best?
Google Forms is a no nonsense survey form builder and data aggregator. It doesn’t do anything else! It’s built for that sole purpose and it does it well.
First and foremost, I love that all data goes directly into a neat Google Sheet. For those of you who hate spreadsheets or are Excel purists, I’m sorry. But Google Sheets is the future. And the seamless connection with Google Forms is just one reason why.
I love that I can share my survey with a single link. This allows me to mass email folks that same single link and get my results.
Finally, I love the logic leaps. At lot of other survey tools out there (I’m looking your way Typeform) will require you to pay for question logic. Not so with Google Forms!
What do you dislike?
The logic mechanisms can be a bit confusing because there is not a visual tree to help keep things straight.
Google Forms are also not the prettiest things in the world to use. If you are looking for particularly beautiful forms, I would point you to Typeform.
What business problems does the product solve? What benefits have you realized?
Google Forms is an indispensable tool for doing customer research.
You can use it as an NPS survey or do more in depth customer discovery with it. For example, we use Google Forms to help gauge Customer Effort Score after onboarding. Literally any set of questions you want to ask your customers can be turned into a Form and mass distributed.
Every company in the world needs to be as close to their customers as possible. There is real power in proximity. You feel the same pains and successes and you will gain a better understand of the problems you need to solve to deliver real value to your customer base.
I love Google Forms! We couldn’t do our customer research without it. Remember, if you haven't done any customer research in over a year, you need to do some right now! Your customers change, their industries change, and your relative importance in their lives changes right along with it.
It’s incredibly important to keep a pulse on your customers’ pains, wants, and needs. And Google Forms gives you a free and easy way to gather quantitative data you need to gain deeper insights of your customer base.
About the Author
John Bowman, Esq., is the Director of Customer Success at Jetpack Workflow. He is a rising star in the Customer Success community, leading the The Pittsburgh Customer Success Meetup and the Pittsburgh Gainsight Pulse chapter, as well as moderating the Customer Success Subreddit. John utilizes his 10+ years of professional experience to focus organizations on one goal: the customer's desired outcome.