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So you say you know your customers…

21st Jan 2015

Honestly? Do you? When was the last time you asked your customers a question, posed with the sole intention of improving your product or service offering? We would all like to know exactly what our customers want and what they think and yet we are adept at side-stepping the obvious sometimes. We simply need to ask the question.

If you don’t regularly survey your customers then please make this your resolution. Surveying your customers is a great way to learn how to better please them, giving you the impetus and the know-how to improve on overall delivery from the quality of your products and services to how better to present the same.

 You can learn so much by going direct to your customers including what their perception of you and your brand is and what areas of your business need improving. Your customers are the very lifeblood of your business and what they want should shape the direction your business moves in – it should be absolutely crucial to you to know what they want.

So, how best to do it?

Have a clear objective before proceeding with any surveys. Know exactly what the goal is - ie. What you hope to achieve by asking the questions – and form your questions accordingly. You should then share your objective with the intended participants so that they know why you are asking for the information. You can outline to them how you hope that, by giving the information, they will receive some benefit as it will ultimately help you to improve your offering and make it more relevant. They should then, hopefully, be more willing to complete the survey.

Keep the invitation to participate in the survey short and to the point. Tell the would-be respondent what you want him or her to do and how long it will take them to do it. You have to manage expectation. If you tell them a survey will take two minutes when, in fact, it will take 20, you’re just going to annoy and alienate them. At best, they’ll give up half way through. Worse case scenario, they won’t believe anything you say again and will give you and your brand a wide berth in the future.

Formulate clear, non-technical questions that are easy to immediately understand and that are not repetitive. Nobody wants to give what appears to be the same information twice, it just appears sloppy and lazy and you’re wasting time.

When you have the information, make sure you use it ! Respond to the participants addressing any dissatisfaction and notifying the relevant parties in your company of their comments. Similarly, engage with them if they have praised you, thanking them for the feedback and assuring them that you will continue to build on this good record.

A final cautionary note: Don’t damage the relationship by over-surveying your customers and inundating them with constant requests for feedback as these requests will eventually get ignored. It’s far harder to win back attention that you’ve lost than it is to get it in the first place.

 For more tips on customer surveys, drop us a line or give us a call on 0161 870 8194.