#25: Sançar Sahin/Typeform: The Art of Getting Customer Feedback
9 March 2017
00:00 00:00 CC Download
“Think of it like a real conversation. You don’t go on a first date and say: Name! Age! Sex! You don’t say that. You have conversations with people, you start with small talk, you get to know them gradually.”

From today’s episode you’ll learn:

Today's guest

Sançar Sahin
​Sançar is the Director of Marketing at Typeform, a company trying to make the world a little more human by changing the way we collect data online. Coming from a content marketing and creative background, Sançar is obsessed with building memorable customer experiences and brand interactions. Outside of the office, you'll usually see him with a camera in hand or walking his 13-year-old dog.

Podcast transcript

Hello guys, here’s Justyna, LiveChat Content Writer, and this is Business Sidekick!

My today’s guest is Sançar Sahin, the Director of Marketing at Typeform, and we’re talking about the science of gaining feedback from customers.

Gaining feedback is incredibly important in keeping conversion rate high, that’s for sure, but it it makes your customers feel they’re important for you and turns them into loyal customers.

So: what are the most important questions you should ask your customers? Should you also talk with your employees? How to create a communication strategy? How to make relationship with customer more personal?

Listen to this interview and you’ll get to know.

Thanks a lot for accepting my invitation it's a great pleasure to have you in Business Sidekick.

Oh yeah, thanks for having me.

Alright, so can you please tell me something about yourself and your role in Typeform.

Sure! So about myself; I live in Barcelona, sunny Barcelona, so I've got the beach right next door so I like to spend as much time as possible outside. I've got my old dog, 13 year old dog, so I like to take her for walks. It takes me about 3 or 4 hours to do what should take about 10 minutes.

So that's a great way to spend my time.

That's cute.

Yeah, yeah, I men I like her I like her. Yeah and so I'm the Director of Marketing at Typeform.

Typeform is a platform for building a variety of different use cases. So, think anything where you need to ask people for information and they need to submit that information back to you. So think of use cases such as contact forms, landing pages, surveys, feedback forms, quizzes, even payment pages for example. Anything where you’re asking a question and somebody's responding to you online.

The differences with Typeform compared to some other platforms is that what we're doing is mixing the human centred approach and the conversational approach of let's say email and chat platforms with the data structuring capabilities of a standard web form.

So you know just to give you an example.

If you wanted to ask a 1000 people what they, or let's say you wanted to ask 1000 people where they wanted to go for lunch tomorrow, which restaurant they want to go to. What you could do is take to email or WhatsApp or messenger or something like that, you could send that message to a 100 people and say, "Hey guys we're going to go for lunch tomorrow where should we go? Which restaurant should we go to?"

You can be yourself, you can be very personal, you can be very conversational, you speak in your tone, in your own language, but the problem comes when you get the information back. You know if a 1000 people are sending you their different suggestions for a restaurant to go to tomorrow it's going to be very hard to structure and analyse that information and make a decision on where to go.

So as businesses the scale we've kind of been pushed into using web forms to gather this type of information. The problem is what we've done is we've compromised a lot on our conversational human centred approach, so we stopped talking to people like human beings.

So what we're doing at Typeform is try to mix those two extremes. The ability to structure the information you receive back and also the ability to remain conversational with your audience.

It sounds really interesting and Typeform is something much more than just surveys, that's what you mentioned before. And I was wondering what are use cases, you've mentioned a couple of them and can you describe them?

A lot of people do believe that we're essentially a survey platform and that's fine. A survey is a good use case. It's you can definitely create that with Typeform and being much more conversational and actually get better and more information back from your audiences, is definitely a great use case.

But it's by no means the only thing you can do with Typeform. So think of any digital situation where you need to ask people questions and that doesn't just have to be customers, it could be your employees for example.

So we actually, we use, not surprisingly, we use Typeform a lot in Typeform. We're always sending Typeform out to our employees, to our customers, to our blog readers, wherever it might be to ask them questions.

So to give you a couple of example once a quarter we send out a 360 degree feedback Typeform to our employees to get information and feedback from our peers about how we're progressing in work. We send out engagement surveys to our employees once a quarter as well to understand if people are happy at work, if we're giving them the right resources, the right support to do well in their jobs.

We something we do a lot if me send an NPS survey, so a net promoters score survey to our customers. I think we send it 20 days after you've been a pro user. So you've had a chance to experience the product and really understand if it’s the right thing for you.

And we send out this survey and we basically ask, "Hey would you recommend this to your colleges or to your peers?" And just that one question is extremely powerful and the information you get back from that can help you make big decision, big organisational decisions.

You know you can create a quiz, a lot of people creating quizzes with Typeform Trello have this great example we wrote about it on the blog actually they created a quiz for their employees and the prize was a big holiday Retreat a big mansion on the beach somewhere.

Oh my God!

...for the winners to stay in. That was a nice example I think we should do something similar at Typeform I recommend that you listen as check out the blog post. But I guess Trello they will organising a company Retreat so I think they were taking the whole company out to somewhere I think in Florida to if the whole company together to make sure everyone is getting to know each other make sure everyone’s aligned with the company vision et cetera.

But they were putting everyone up in relatively standard hotel rooms but they had this one mansion that they could offer out of a few kind of.

Lucky winners!

Exactly and I think they had the dilemma of: should we give this to management, should we give this to style employees or, should we give how employees the chance to actually engage with a fun experience, in this case the quiz, and then you know candles give it away as a prize. So we're not just saying it is for this particular type of employee.

So now I think it was just a fun way to engage with their employees but I think that's the keyword here, engagement. This is why businesses should be asking questions. They should be asking the employees questions and the customers questions a lot. They should keep that conversation going with everybody They deal with on a daily basis because that's how we learn.

Yeah and speaking about questions, are there any the most important questions that business owners or companies should ask their employees.

Yeah well I'm not sure it would be right for me to say what the correct questions are to ask.

For example based on your experience.

I think the main thing you have to do is you have to really think about what information is going to help you make changes and only ask questions based on receiving that information. So I think a big mistake that I see people make is they feel like they should be sending out an employee engagement survey for example.

But they don't really understand why they are doing it or what they plan to do with the information once they have it.. So I think the key is to really ask yourself what is it we want to do with this information if we receive this particular type of feedback are you ready to receive that feedback? If we get negative feedback for example are we going to do something about it?

So I think you have to be asking questions that really help you take action. What does questions all depends on your organisation. But I can tell you some of the most useful questions we ask internally are questions about organisational structure and do people are company vision. Do they understand the bigger picture?

And actually recently we found out we have a few issues with company alignment. So from sending up the survey we realised everybody was very happy with the office, the perks their colleagues, the product, everybody was very happy on the surface of things but what we realised we had a pretty big issue with alignment and people understanding a greater purpose, and why we are here what we are trying to achieve as a company and a brand.

So the answers from the survey actually helped us think of some very clear actions to resolve that. and In our case we organised a big today alignment event. We got everyone together to really communicate well, you know what are mission is, what are vision is and since then actually sings has improved a lot but it is a continuous process, you know it's never a one off thing.

And speaking about questions and what you said that should have in mind what you want to achieve with your survey I know that there is no answer to this question but what are the best questions you should ask our customers or what is the most important knowledge we have to gain from our customers?

I like how you said there is no answer to this question because it makes it easier for me to answer it.

All but you have to do you have to anyway.

Okay I see that’s an interesting situation you've put me in.

I just believe that there are so many important things that we should know about our customers. So that this is what I'm talking about.

Definitely, it depends at what stage they are into your product that really depends on the questions you ask.

So for example you could ask for my kind of market research, you could send out some market research questions before you launch a product or feature. So you could ask questions like, do you have a need for this feature or product?

What are your main pain points at the moment around this area. What are you missing in your day today. You can ask questions like this to really understand if you should be creating a particular feature or particular product for example. In the case of launching a company or product.

And then once they are on board and they are part of your product you can start asking them questions like, " are we meeting your expectations? You know when you signed up for this particular product for a reason have you managed to meet those expectations? Have you found the information you are looking for? Have you managed to resolve some of your pain points with our product? Do you think we are good value for money? Do you think something we could do to improve but we are offering you?"

And then you know you can go all the way up do having really loyal customers who stick around for a long time and it's very important not to just get complacent and think ok these customers I was and now there's no need to have an open dialogue with them.

You should keep asking them questions and making sure you getting as much feedback from them as possible and understanding why they've decided to stick around with you. It's very very important it's a big mistake to only asked questions to dissatisfied customers, we should be talking a lot to the satisfied customers as well to understand what it is we are doing well. to be able to keep doing that and build on that. I'm not sure if that really answers your question.

Oh it does. And I'm wondering if we should ask them open questions? from other side I don't think we shouldn’t ask them open questions. But I think it's very difficult to get a feedback from customers that have open questions because every person will probably say something slightly different.

Good question.

I mean open and closed questions, again I think it depends on your objectives and your own expectations for what you plan to do with that if you are only looking to produce a number from and plot a number on the chart with the information that you received from a feedback survey for example then you have to be asking closed questions and you have to give people multiple choice and things like this. So you can I create that data, plot it on the chart and understand trends. I think closed questions are great for trends.

But look, I think if you have the opportunity to ask open questions, then do it. Because some of the best information comes from those open questions and yes it involves a bit more work, it involves reading through those responses but what you are getting back is a response in somebody's own words brother I found the key to thriving I found their mother ever which is invaluable really you can't well you can buy that stuff actually but you need to, I think you need to give some room to read those answers because it can be really invaluable.

And speaking about buying, I've heard that it's a really bad practice to encourage your customers to fill the form and give them a gift.

To give them a gift in exchange for filling in the form?


Yeah I mean this is one way to get people to do it. What I would say if you have to ask yourself why don't people want to fill in this form or the survey.

You know why do I have to give them an Amazon voucher a Starbucks coupons or something to convince them to fill in the survey and also if I do give them some kind of reward, how does that affect the quality of the information that they are giving me?

Because if somebody says to me, hateful in this 15 minutes over and I'll give you a 50 dollar Amazon voucher what am I going to do?, I'm just going to go through and click on the first answer I see on every question just so I can get to the end and I can get my 50 dollar Amazon voucher.

So this is kind of where I think Typeform can also help because what we are trying to encourage you don't use create a form of a survey or whatever it might be that you have to force people to fill in.

Create a conversation sweet people actually want to engage with you and I think conversation is key. The more conversational you are the more people will feel closer to you and the more likely they are to want to give you information and this is what we find, when you can be conversational both in the way that you write and the way that you present the questions.

So for example Typeform only gives you one question at a time like a conversation people are much more likely to engage and want to fill in the form. So I would say really think about why you are having to force of persuade people to fill in a particular form, survey, quiz or whatever it might be.

That's really an important question you know. I've seen that on your website. You called from a beautiful way to interact with humans and I see that your mission is bringing personalised customer experience to life. but seriously it sounds really weird to me that we can be personal in forms, in surveys, questioning. He said he one of the things that make it more personal is asking one question at a time, are there any good practices?

There are a few practical tips that I can do I don't think anything I would say is that unique but when you are asking people questions keep it short, keep it relevant, try and ask questions in different ways in which time.

In the survey world there is something called respondent fatigue which is basically where people get so bored with the process of filling in the survey they just drop off.

They just drop off I know I'm always bored.

Exactly I mean this is something we are all familiar with. I mean we've all fill in a form, a survey or something in our lives and we've all experienced that kind of dread “I'm having to do with”.

So this is why we need to get back to just having conversations with people and there's no reason why our digital interactions have to be like a boring standard paper form. There's no reason why we can't speak to people like human beings. If you think of the evolution of websites, when the Internet first came around, when was it, like 100 years ago, right? I'm just joking.

When the Internet first came around and website first went up what did they look like? They looked like PDF essentially. they were like paper, digital versions of something on paper but then it evolved.

We develop new coding languages, new format, design principles and then we started adding different players to websites and we got interactive elements and now websites are insane. You can have highly interactive experiences on a website.

But with forms the same evolution process didn't happen.

For some reason we just accepted that forms in digital format I just what they look like on paper but on a screen. And I don't think that's good enough to accept that we should allow that to evolve as well, especially as a key interaction that we have with our customers, audience, our employees from a whoever it might be.

So it's only fair that we treat people like human beings when asking them for information.

And since I'm a content writer I was thinking about the way the questions are written and I very often come across questions like, what could our company do to serve you better, or something equally boring.

And I think that the best way the ask questions is to ask for example, tell me about your favourite experience you had with us or what is the one thing none of your vendors do that you wish they would right. That's something much more personal than just asking questions about your boring company right?

No, exactly you hit the nail on the head. If you think of questions for personal then you are going to engage more with your customers. The first the question that you the standard question you mentioned that you see on every single form that you fill in about the company.

You have to think to yourself you know would I say this in real life if I was the owner of small ma and pa style shop we I have 10 customers a day selling fruits and veg or something and I actually talk to those customers on a daily basis.

But I talk to them like that, would I use those words, would I have that level of formality? If the answer is no then why would you do it in a digital form?

Yes that's a very good clue. You also mentioned that such interactions shouldn't be one-go interactions. How to make it a part of customer service or awesome customer experience strategy?

Well, I think there's many ways and it's something that has to be consciously thought about. It's very easy to build a product and to focus only on acquisition and getting customers into the funnel, getting them converted etc. and then giving them the standard report of the help centre or whatever and then forgetting about them.

It's very important to find ways to keep the conversation going and find ways to ask people questions at the right time and interaction the information that you get from that. So it could be anything as simple as, like I said earlier, we send a NPS survey email 20 days after being a pro user of Typeform and this is something that is standard and it goes out at that point for every pro customer.

But then you can set up periodic questions that you ask people, you might want to ask for feedback at the end of your blog articles like saying hey was this article useful colours what else we could be writing about that's going to be useful for you.

You could engage with people on social media. We do a lot of quizzes on social media actually built with Typeform. So we, just silly things really, where did one recently called the impossible quiz which is pretty impossible challenge your listeners to check it out.

How, I'm dying to hear about it!

Check it out it's on the Twitter page. Maybe it's only impossible for me because I'm not that intelligent but it... but what I'm saying is you should find as many ways as possible to engage with your audience and don't annoy people, you have to listen to people.

If people say that you are asking me too many questions or I'm not ready to answer this question right now, you have to listen to that and you have to adjust your strategy based on that.

Once again I always go back and say think of it like a real conversation. One of our writers, Paul, he's always comparing these conversations to dates, the dating world.

You don't go on a first date and as soon as you meet someone say: “name,” “age,” “sex,” you don't say that you have a conversation with people you start with a bit of small talk. You get to know them gradually...

Oh my gosh! Hilarious!

Maybe it's not the best analogy but I think it work.

It is! It is!

You have to take your time with people, you have to engage with him, you have to gain their trust because at the end of the day you are sending them these questions because you want information so it's a benefit for you. If you want the information then you have to give people the time and respect that they need as humans to want to give you that information and I think it’s a simple and that really.

I was supposed to ask you to share your final tips or words of encouragement but you already did. The date metaphor is absolutely brilliant so yeah thanks a lot and thank you very much for being my guest it was fun

Thank you, I enjoyed it, thanks for having us and keep up the good work, I'm enjoying your podcast.

Whoohoo thanks.

Alright, that’s all for today! If you’re listening to this podcast on iTunes, then you probably didn’t see awesome graphics that Julia, our graphic designer creates for every episode. That’s outrageous. That’s why you should visit our website:!

And here’s one of all those cheesy quotes, so this episode is a little bit more spiritual. Remember feedback is the breakfast of champions.

Thanks a lot for listening, bye bye!

#Business Psychology #Marketing


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