Matt Bahr, founder and CEO of Fairing, understands the importance of attribution. This is why he chose to focus his company Fairing, formerly EnquireLabs, on collecting data to help companies understand the attribution of their customers. The goal at Fairing is to bring speed and scale to survey data in an effort to help solve the issue of attribution. The company helps its clients design surveys that help them determine who their customers are, where they came from, and what will keep them coming back. On this episode of Subscription Radio, Ben and Matt discuss the importance of customer surveys, what questions to ask, and how to use those answers to your competitive advantage.

Show Topics

  • How Fairing helps solve attribution
  • Get a competitive advantage
  • Increase completion rate
  • Let people classify themselves
  • Find out where customers are coming from
  • Create surveys with ease
  • Let people come back to the questions
  • Build a profile over time
  • Understand your customers’ motivations
  • Ask more than one question

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Key Takeaways

01:54 – How Fairing helps solve attribution

The goal at Fairing is to bring speed and scale to survey data in an effort to help solve the issue of attribution.

“At Fairing, essentially we bring speed and scale to survey data is how we position ourselves. Today, where we capture that data is 99% on order confirmation pages. So we fit into that post-purchase survey category. Of course, what we're building beyond that is way greater. But today, that's where the majority of capture happens. And the reason why we built this, honestly, as a side project back in 2018 was really to solve attribution or at least help provide another data point into the attribution equation. When we initially did this, it was with a Google form, it was for a consulting client of ours, and the data wasn't connected to the order data. And that's where the light bulb went off in our head around, ‘Oh, we could just build a simple form and connect this.’ But that was square one. I think the zeitgeist hadn't caught up to, or wasn't at the zero-party first-party data world yet. So we, I don't want to say patiently but, waited two or so years before things started to align with where we thought it was going.”

04:36 – Get a competitive advantage

It’s hard for companies to know who their customers are and why they buy. This is why Fairing has chosen to help merchants both solve attribution and understand channels better.

“It's very hard for a brand to know, ‘Who is my TikTok customer?’ On the retention side, it's like, ‘Okay, I have a TikTok customer. They are a very low churn subscription customer. Who is that customer? What's their age? What's their gender? Why did they buy? How would they classify themselves from a persona perspective?’ And that's what our product has morphed into with this question stream is allowing merchants to, A, let's say help solve attribution, but also understand channels and more deeply their customers on such another level than they have been before. And I think the thing that's happening is it's no longer a money-in money-out scenario where you just put money into literally the Facebook platform for so long and you get money out. Brands are looking for competitive advantages. It's very difficult to operate and scale without doing something proprietary at this point for a lot of these brands, and that's where we come in. We literally give them a data set that competitors have zero access to.”

07:15 – Increase completion rate

Fairing has a 5x higher average completion rate than most companies, which has been a major factor in the company’s growth.

“It’s a little over 50% platform wide on ours. So, it's a ton of data. I think most people, when they think of surveying, especially via email, they're expecting, I think on the bright side maybe 10% or maybe a little less. If they're providing an incentive maybe 15, 20, and then you start getting into some biases around surveys. If you have an incentive bias where people are just completing it for the incentive. So, we are 5x, essentially, any expectation. And that's definitely been a big factor in our growth. And it's also a reason why we're not jumping to go do email SMS and landing page surveys is because our completion rate is so high right now. That’s a core value prop of what we offer. And once we start to dilute that and build more categorical features in that side, it will drop so dramatically. And it won't allow us to innovate as much as we want on our question stream and how we decide and how we ask questions.”

10:34 – Let people classify themselves

Ask your customers, “How would you classify yourself?” You will understand your audience better if you know how they see themselves.

“My favorite question, you might be able to word it differently for each brand, is, ‘How would you classify yourself?’ It's the easiest thing to then create personas that honestly are quite difficult to build if you want to really action on them. So anything that would help you there. We work with this hardware company that literally has that example. They have hobbyists, educators, and professionals, and previous to asking that question, he thought that 80% of his customers were professionals. After asking that, literally within two days, he goes, ‘Yep, completely wrong. It's like 20% professionals. I had this whole cohort of hobbyists who are buying our product.’ And then they can then, ‘Hey, let's maybe look at Reddit. Let's look at some other channels where these hobbyists hang out.’”

11:18 – Find out where customers are coming from

When you know what companies your customers are transitioning from, it’s easier to target new potential customers.

“On the customer research side, this is the one that we like to join with that attribution data. So questions like, ‘What brand are you switching from?’ On the CPG side, I know a toothpaste company we work with, they were using that in all their investor decks, because they were saying, ‘Look at this. We are literally taking market share from Crest and all these core toothpaste companies.’ Which I guess was very formative in them raising the next round of capital. And then also you start to join that data with your survey data and you're like, ‘Oh, it's interesting. We're taking a lot of people from this channel, who are this demographic, and are switching from this brand. What can that tell us? Maybe we can do a viral TikTok campaign that mentions this brand and how so many people are switching from it?’ kind of thing. So there's some really good feedback loops to help optimize creative, optimize ad copy, and just improve conversion and CTR across all of your channels.”

14:05 – Create surveys with ease

Historically, it used to take a lot of time to create surveys. Fairing has tried to streamline that process for companies so they can create surveys easier and faster.

“Surveying, in its historical sense, which is very much research-based, definitely was not a popular thing to do or a thing that was definitely preached on doing. And if you were going to do it, let's say you were going to do it quarterly and send out a type form or Survey Monkey survey. Crafting that survey was always a challenge, essentially. It was like, ‘How do I write all these questions? Are these the right 10 questions or 20 questions?’ Where with our product, since we've decoupled questions, that's the whole concept of question stream. Let's serve them over time. They don't all have to be captured at once. It reduces a lot of that, not necessarily fear, but friction of getting started and asking questions to your consumers, where historically you literally had to spend maybe a week crafting questions. If you're on a certain scale, you were probably working with an agency to make sure you weren't writing them in a very biased way or whatnot. It was this big project. I know a company that spent a hundred grand on a quarterly survey with one of the big four consulting firms, and where we come in is removing a lot of that hesitation around, ‘I don't have to build a question. Literally, just add a question. You want to go ask about where people are switching from? Just go add it right now.’ And you'll get data within the next half hour, as long as you're doing some volume.”

16:39 – Let people come back to the questions

Fairing allows companies to save customers’ survey progress, so the next time they go to your site they can start where they left off.

“Let’s say we want to ask you 10 questions, for example. If you were to answer three of them on your first order, those 10 questions, it's not a monolith where it's loaded on the page and you answer all them. If you were to answer three of those and then let's say you got distracted, someone texted you, you didn't answer questions four through six, the next time you place an order, it's going to pick up right where you left them. And the rules could have changed in that period of time. Maybe the marketer was like, ‘Let's actually ask this question before this one.’ So essentially the way it works with our servers, every time you load a page, we tell you which question to ask. So this is where we're spending a ton of time. We'll be getting more intelligent with when we're asking questions. Like, ‘Hey, we know Ben never answers this question. So how about we don't show it to him because we know it may piss him off?’ And you’re like, ‘Don't ask me that question.’ But that's what I mean by decoupled where each question essentially has its own rules, and can be served over time, and you and I might get different questions based on our purchase behavior.”

18:00 – Build a profile over time

Don’t overload your customers with questions during their first purchase. Build your profile over the course of several visits instead.

“I don’t know if you're familiar with the term progressive profiling. But that's that whole idea of, it's mostly in enterprise sales, but it's like, ‘Okay, we're trying to learn about this customer. We obviously can't ask him these 30 things that are allowed,’ but it's like, ‘Okay, the first call, ask him these and we'll send him this thing to fill out.’ And it's building that profile over time. And that's where we want to get really good at where it's going to be impossible for you to build a hundred percent of that profile in that first order. But if a customer is a customer over their life cycle, a few years, we can get smart about building that profile and a really good experience. So not overloading the customer with 15 questions on their first order kind of thing. And then get targeted with, ‘Hey, we don't need to ask him this question or her this question because we know it's not going to be overly helpful.’”

26:37 – Understand your customers’ motivations

If you want to develop accurate customer personas, you need to ask a lot of questions about who your customers are and what they want.

“On the retention side of things, given the topic at hand, I would start to think about you want to obviously build personas of who's subscribing and who's not. You know what I mean? And what do those customers look like? Where are they coming from? And trying to answer for your brand anything that would help you bifurcate the two of those so you can market to them differently. Get more of those single subscribers over to a repeat behavior, or maybe they don't want to. So that's how I would approach it. There’s not questions, like, ‘Why didn't you subscribe? Or have you ever subscribed to a similar product before?’ It could definitely be very informative on the subscription side to help you understand, because it could just be personal preference. It could be literally nothing else other than personal preference.”

37:45 – Ask more than one question

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers multiple questions in one survey. If your customer is willing to answer three questions, they’re probably willing to answer a few more.

“I think the biggest recommendation we have is if you use Fairing, ask more than one question. We launched a single question, so there's still a portion of our customers who are just on autopilot with that, and we're actively pushing them to ask more and learn more. So that's my biggest piece of advice is don't be afraid to ask three, four questions. The data shows that once the customer gets to the third question, there's almost a hundred percent chance they'll get to the end of the stream if you have literally 10 questions. So that's my biggest piece of advice is don't be afraid to ask questions and think about building a competitive advantage. How do you do that today? And if you're looking at the same exact dashboards as all of your competitors, you're not necessarily building a competitive advantage in that realm, where if you're using data provided from your customers, that's something your competitors can't get. So capture it and use it. And that's a really good way to start building a foundation for a concrete competitive advantage against competitors.”