Recently, we sent out a survey asking all of our Benchmark Email users for some feedback. We received hundreds of incredible responses. Your answers taught us a lot. Here\'s some of that we learned: By a landslide, everyone said Benchmark Email was super easy to use. We thank our designers for making our tools and dashboard clean and easy-to-use as well as our front-end and back-end progammers and developers that bring Benchmark to life. Almost 1/3 of responders (28%) weren\'t aware that Benchmark offered training resources, such as manuals, videos and webinars. Benchmark also plans to make some meaningful changes based on your feedback. Check out some of the ways in which our users will have improved Benchmark: We are going to put a greater focus on training Benchmark users on the full potential of our tools … and making sure you all know what resources are available to you. Benchmark will continue to invest in our infrastructure for better site speed and reliability. World class support. Worldwide. PC Mag named us #1 in customer support and that’s not a crown we’re looking to relinquish any time soon. We will continue to seek out new ways to be the best. Now what you\'ve all been waiting for … the announcement of the Apple Watch Sport winner. We picked one winner out of all the respondents at random. We couldn\'t be more pleased to reward our winner with this prize. Funds2Orgs seeks to provide turnkey solutions to assist in the raising of funds, engaging with volunteers and creating a sustainable, lasting impact. They have been using Benchmark Email for about a year and a half. We thank them for their survey responses and for being a loyal Benchmark Email customer … and congratulate them on their brand new Apple Watch Sport!
We used to applaud people for their candid commentary. However, in the business world, harsh words alienate your colleagues and risk damaging your reputation. When it comes to giving feedback, there’s a right way and a wrong way to offer critique. The wrong way is to be direct, to have a “sharp tongue,” and to lay your thoughts out there unfiltered. While this is often seen as “telling it like it is,” it also reflects an alarmingly high level of obtuse disregard for your colleagues. The correct way is to start with identifying what has been done correctly. Starting with recognition primes the recipient and shows that you recognize their value. Then you can move on to your carefully worded criticism or “feedback.” After the critique is delivered, go back and offer another kind word or too. This is called the sandwiching method, where you ‘sandwich’ feedback with words of affirmation. The Sandwich Method of Giving Professional Feedback For example, a sandwich method of critique could look like: Hi John, I really appreciate the amount effort you put into the report for today’s meeting. Next time, could you offer Google analytics annotations in your presentation next time? This will allow us to see exactly why we’ve had peaks in traffic. I also wanted to thank you for all your hard work. I know these reports are really data driven and there’s a lot of information to juggle. Thanks! Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to have a chat about it too. Here, you’ve coated John’s ego by prefacing a criticism with a compliment (the effort) and ending it with sympathetic understanding (we know there’s a lot to do). The criticism itself is that John lacks attention to detail in his reports. Perhaps you’ve had the same conversation with him before. Perhaps this is your third time asking for the same thing, which brings us to another point: getting it said in writing. Written Feedback Gets Looked At Twice Verbal feedback gets heard once, while a written feedback gets looked at twice. Getting something said in writing offers the opportunity to really craft our message, but it also has a higher impact on the recipient. Being offered verbal feedback versus being offered feedback in an email are two different things entirely. The former has to rely on one’s attention at the moment and their memory in order for it to be fully grasped, while the latter is documented and retrievable. The recipient is also more likely to focus on words in an email than what can be otherwise perceived as a request or passing comment with little weight. Feedback Through Example In other cases, it doesn’t really matter what you say or how you say it. What could matter more – or at least be more effective – is offering feedback through example. This is particularly helpful with people who don’t take kindly to being told what to do, even with the thickest of sandwiches. It also works remarkably well for people who are visual communicators. Showing someone how you might prefer something to be done also gives you the advantage of communicating in pictures without really having to consider message delivery.
At the moment, it\'s safe to say that email and Web-based surveys are the cheapest and most effective ways to get that data you crave. Sure, people still use phone telemarketers and snail mail surveys, but with the incredible number of people using the Internet across the globe, it would be foolish to overlook the ability to track people down and ask them questions via that medium. More than anything, however, Internet and email-based surveys give your customers a chance to give thorough, well thought-out answers, and you the chance to view those answers showing up in real time. Here are our top 10 reasons to use email and Web surveys: 1. Gather Feedback Perhaps you\'ve wondered why the product you bought in bulk is just not selling. Maybe you\'re confused on why customers visit a certain page on your Website and then drop off, abandoning their shopping carts. With Web surveys, you can gather the feedback you need to find out for sure. 2. Figure out what products to carry next Need a handle on what products will sell and what ones won\'t? Send a survey asking customers what they\'d like to see on your virtual shelves. 3. Streamline your order and checkout process Which steps in the order and checkout process are unnecessary? Which steps make sense, but maybe should take place outside the order fulfillment process? Use a Web survey at checkout to re-shape and shrink the checkout process. 4. Measure customer morale Are your customers over the moon about your next line of products or just blah? Do you need to try something new to get your customers excited about your company? Measure morale and create a future plan based on that data. 5. Gather testimonials Are customer singing your praises? Use a survey to find out why. Once you\'ve gotten the data you need, contact the most enthusiastic customers and invite them to create video or text-based testimonials. 6. Find out what peer companies are up to Let\'s face it: you can\'t ask your competitor companies which products and customer service techniques are working for them. But you can ask your customers the same questions and get the answers you need to adjust your own methods. 7. Adjust your customer service contact channels Do you need more people on the phones on the weekends? Should you invest in a live chat team? These questions matter. By crafting a customer service-based survey you can not only hire the people and rent/buy the technology you need, but stay competitive in your business sphere. 8. Price your goods Don\'t over or under-charge for your stuff - ask your customers what prices work for them and adjust your prices accordingly. Stay competitive with this information. 9. Dump unpopular products and find out why some items are slow-sellers If you have crates of items just sitting around the warehouse not selling, there may be a specific reason why. Use a survey to poll customers on certain slow-selling products. 10. Set realistic company goals Customer opinion is a great way to shape your company, down to what types of positions get filled to how many people you\'ll need to keep customers happy and the shelves stocked with goods. Gather this data and use it to move up the ranks among your competitors.
Once you\'ve sent your email and added it to your custom archive, did you know there\'s another easy way to drive Web traffic to your email or newsletter? The Benchmark Email Community gives you yet another opportunity to put your email online so everyone can find it. Post your email or newsletter in the community and Web surfers can find it via search, social bookmark, Twitter, Facebook and more. . How do you do this? It\'s easy! In the last stage of the email campaign creation process, you\'ll be given two options: add your email to your archive and/or add it to the Benchmark Email Community. Click on the Benchmark Email Community option. Once you\'ve done that your email will be given a permanent Web address and you can name your email, add tags and even send the URL to your customers. We\'ve even added social networking and bookmarking options. Once your email is up in the community, you can: Send the link to your email page via myspace or Facebook Send out a Tweet via Twitter with a link to your email or newsletter Social bookmark your email or newsletter URL through Digg, Delicious and more Use Stumbleupon and Technorati to boost your page views Sign up additional subscribers who find your email in a keyword search Allow people to vote for your email as well as comment on how good it looks Through the Benchmark Email Community, your email has a life far beyond the time it lands in the inbox of your subscribers. This permanent home on the Web gives you a load of opportunities to drive as many people to your email or newsletter as possible, empowering you to sign up new subscribers, bring in new customers and even sell your products or services.