Lauren and Josh, Community Managers at SurveyBods – the No.1 Survey Panel in the UK, talk about the benefits being part of a panel and community can offer.
How did SurveyBods come to be? What was the impetus?
Lauren: On August 20th 2013, a lovely summer’s day, SurveyBods was born!
SurveyBods, previously known as the ‘Informer Panel’, went through some intensive re-branding. We also chucked in a whole load of new (and very cool) website features just to make it extra special.
After many hours of blood sweat and tears, a bog standard survey site went from being not so user friendly to having a pretty awesome user interface.
Inevitably, we listened to our members and SurveyBods was their creation – not just a survey site, an online community which offered people much more.
Josh: We set out to create a research panel that people actively wanted to participate in. By creating intuitive and genuinely interactive content we feel like we’re creating an organic community for our panel that they’re actively engaged with on a regular basis.
I have to agree with Lauren when she says that we really did listen to members when shaping our panel offerings. It’s vital that a community feels like it’s organically doing that and has some way of seeing that change being implemented. It’s this constant feedback and fluidity in the changes we make that keep our members satisfied and ultimately returning to SurveyBods.
SurveyBods is currently ranked as #1 in a list provided by panel aggregate site SurveyPolice. As Community Managers, what do you think contributed to this ranking? What are the main threats to your reputation?
Lauren: We like to think of ourselves as the ‘people’s panel’. Regularly listening to our member’s and constantly working to improve. We also have a dedicated team of Community Managers who personally respond to every enquiry and work around the clock to ensure everything runs smoothly (day in, day out).
We also employ some of the best survey designers around. Their mission is to make all our surveys as fun and engaging as possible!
Josh: There’s a lot of other panels which on the outside seem to offer quite a similar service to SurveyBods, but when you get into they don’t offer the same service we do at all.
Competition is something we have to overcome when recruiting to our panel, signaling to potential members that we offer a much more community focused and personal experience. I’d like to think that the community aspect creates as much of a draw as the financial aspect of being part of a research community does.
We always stress the importance of personally replying to every query and communication we receive from our panelists. The connected nature of social media and the way it’s intrinsic to the ideal SurveyBods experience, makes it essential.
There’s a big demand for companies to become more “conscience”. Would you think of SurveyBods as a company with a conscience?
Lauren: Most definitely, we continuously stick to a list of very strict quality control guidelines. Rewards, length of survey, extra opportunities and device compatibility are just some of the things we take very seriously here at SurveyBods. If these things aren’t to a certain level we’re not sending it out to our members.
SurveyBods is research community for anyone and everyone – no one will be left behind and they’ll always have equal opportunities to win prizes, earn cash and share opinions.
Josh: I think performing as a community manager in a fair and ethical way is imperative. The workload of a Community Manager is already a mish-mash of a few different marketing roles but a lot of our time and workload is dedicated to face time with our respective communities. This makes ethics quite an important factor to consider when trying to balance it with member engagement.
As Lauren mentioned, it’s important that nobody feels like they are left behind. Everyone has to feel equally important in order for people to want to interact with the community and for things to run smoothly. As Community Managers we’re there to facilitate the sharing of ideas between our members, it’s our responsibility to provide a safe and comfortable environment in which our members can interact.
Mobile devices such as phones and tablets are dominating the way in which consumers interact. How does SurveyBods keep up with mobile technology?
Lauren: We know how important it is these days to have a website that’s quick and easy to access on the move. Here are some interesting stats for you;
That being said, we have some super exclusive news for you! SurveyBods is currently in the process of developing an app….
We’re also working to make the site completely optimised for mobile – essential actions for the future of SurveyBods.
Josh: The fact that we’re developing the app alone speaks volumes. We understand the importance of mobile technology in the current market.
Hopefully the development will position us alongside other social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, in our members lives when it comes to regularity of interaction. However, in order for this to be more than wishful thinking, there a few important things we must consider…
When a community is easily accessible from anywhere, it becomes something that requires constant checking and attention. Just because the office is closed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your mobile community is also.
It’s not uncommon for Lauren and I to access a community over the weekend or even late in the evening, whether it’s to respond to a members post or help solve a particular issue, sometimes being a community manager can be a round the clock job.
The same thing applies for social media accounts connected to these communities, if a member is used to taking part and interacting when it’s convenient for them on a proprietary platform, it’s almost certain they’re also going to take to your Facebook or Twitter page whenever they feel like looking for interaction.
What measures do you take to ensure that your incentives are as competitive as other companies?
Josh: Incentives are extremely important to the running of panels like SurveyBods. For a member to want to return on a regular basis, they have to remain fair and reasonable – respecting the time of your participants is paramount. As a foundation, SurveyBods offers a cash incentive for each survey complete but this isn’t a structure that applies to all communities.
The interaction required for each different community differs depending on the specifics of the research. For example, the rewards for a 10 minute, multiple answer survey could never directly transfer to a community which requires a member to post photos and videos of specified quality – it just wouldn’t work.
By making each incentive individual to the community we try to draw out a genuine interest in the topic at hand, hopefully encouraging some valuable conversation and ultimately, insight.
How important do you feel customer service is to the success of SurveyBods?
Lauren: Customer service is paramount. The faster the response and the more helpful we are, the happier our members will be. If our members aren’t happy with our service, they’ll take their opinions elsewhere – it’s as simple as that.
Quality is also at the forefront of daily life at the SurveyBods HQ and as a company we pride ourselves on having a high quality reputation. If this falls down, the members would be the first to highlight it.
Josh: Lauren hit the nail on the head with this – customer service needs to be as efficient as possible. The faster we can address an issue, the faster we can come to a resolution and this is what it’s all about.
Poor customer service can quickly destroy any campaigns or work that we’re doing – especially when complaints or issues are flagged up via social media. One comment can quickly snowball into many if people aren’t happy with the service we’re providing.
What services do you currently offer that you feel set SurveyBods apart from other panel providers?
Lauren: The extra opportunities we continue to offer our members, definitely makes our services stand out.
Online voice of the customer communities, product testing, cool prizes, app demonstrations… the list goes on!
The features we have and the opportunities we offer are extremely important and we’re always working to give our members more.
Josh: I think that the opportunities and incentives we offer are important to our members but I also do really believe that we get great results because of our attention to detail – especially when it comes to member engagement. They appreciate it and it comes across in the results we get.
What qualities do you believe a successful Community Manager needs to succeed? Give us an example of some of the most common hurdles you encounter on a daily basis.
Lauren: It has been said that behind every great man is a great woman. And behind every great community is a great Community Manager who plays an integral role in establishing, nurturing and engaging communities.
Here are a few things every community manager needs;
Creativity – Create engaging content, entertain your community and be unique.
Dedication – No time is down time.
Personality -You can’t be a wall flower within the community management world – expression is personable.
Adaptability – No day is the same & all challenges should be welcomed. Multi-tasking is key.
Confidence – Being bold, having a thick skin and trying new tactics.
Love – It goes without saying that Community Managers need to know their stuff. So it’s important to love the brand/community you work with!
Passion – Community Managers should know the brand and community inside & out so they can openly communicate their own brand’s passion and values.
Patience – One, two, three and BREATHE!
What’s next for SurveyBods? Where do you see the panel in the five years’ time?
Lauren: Taking over the world ;)!!
No, honestly and truly, we just want to be the very best we can be and spread the word about SurveyBods. We’re confident in saying that SurveyBods is the best survey site around, and if people want to earn themselves extra cash online – this really is the place to do it.
We also plan on continuing to work with some of the biggest brands around – giving our members the opportunity to directly influence their decisions.
Josh: As we mentioned earlier, we’re going to be continuing our focus on the mobile optimisation of SurveyBods and refining our offerings in this regard. This year expect to see SurveyBods on some of the biggest panel blogs and us holding our own at #1 over at SurveyPolice. As far as 2020 goes, who knows! Hopefully bigger communities and panels with even bigger incentives!