Your survey is fantastic, I’m sure. It asks all the right questions so you can get a really good sense of your customers’ experience with your business. You leave the forms out so that your customers will see them. You email them a link so they can fill them out online. You entice them with freebies or enter them into sweepstakes. Yet the truth remains: no one likes to take your survey.

We forget how biased we can be, so when we set up our surveys, we can’t help but imagine all of the great and insightful feedback we’ll get. After all, we really care about the customer and we want to know if we’re falling short. However, there’s a simple question we could ask ourselves that would quickly dispel our bias: “How often do I fill out a survey for other businesses?” Hardly any of us do. Why?

The problem is that surveys are incompatible with human nature. People, whether they’re aware of it or not, are in the constant mode of seeking value. That is, they invest time and energy where the most value can be gained. When faced with the prospect of taking a survey, a customer will subconsciously ask themselves the question “Is what I get out of this worth my time?”

Surveys don’t offer value, they take value. The business, reducing itself to a panhandler, is asking you to give them your insights, and give them your precious time. You must ask yourself, what does your customer get out of it? The chance that their opinion might get processed and averaged in with the other responses to be eventually considered and maybe, just maybe, tilt an executive decision over at the business HQ one way or the other?

In every transaction with a customer, a business needs to give value, and that includes getting the customer’s opinion. A customer is much more willing to give you their time when this will get them more value than their time is worth. If they’re going to tell you about their experience, the want to know that someone will listen, someone will listen now, and that someone will attempt to address it now. Businesses that want quality feedback from their customers must flip the equation.

To alleviate an issue that is causing your customers stress, now this is offering value. This is Real-Time Feedback.