Finding Buried Treasure Part 2 – How to start collecting customer feedback

In my experience one of the greatest missed opportunities in business is the lack of attention which most business pay to getting really good feedback from their customers – this is the marketing equivalent of walking out of a room and leaving a stack of £50 notes sitting on the table.

Here are three simple things you can do to start finding out why your customers really buy from you and what they really think about your business –  when you find out just how powerful this is I doubt that you will want to stop.

Task 1 – E-mail Survey

Put together a short and simple survey using Survey Monkey or a similar tool. Make sure that it only takes a few minutes to complete and test it so you can be certain that the questions are not confusing or ambiguous. E-mail is the easiest way to send out such a survey but I would recommend letting your customers know about it in advance and explaining why your want their feedback and what you intend to do with the results.

If you do not have e-mail addresses for your customers (I strongly encourage you to start collecting these for future use) then you can also send this questionnaire in the post or if customers visit your premises you can ask people them to complete a (very) short questionnaire on a tablet. If you use the postal option bear in mind you will need to enter the results manually which will require more time.

Task Two – Telephone Survey

For some businesses including those which don’t hold e-mail addresses for most of their customers, a telephone survey can be equally effective. You need to accept that you probably won’t be able to get the same number of responses as an e-mail survey, but you can make up for this by getting richer feedback from customers about why they buy your products and what they like and don’t like about your business. Don’t be tempted to try and ask too many questions – you will get better results by asking fewer questions and exploring the reasons for the answers.

Depending on the size of your business and the nature of the relationship with your customers you can either get someone in your business to make these calls, make them yourself or pay someone outside the business to do so. If it someone in the business make sure they are not the person who usually deals with the customers concerned as this creates too much temptation for them to hide negative results. One effective technique for designing a telephone questionnaire is to ask customers to rate the main elements of your product and service on a scale of say 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 and then asking them to explain the reasons why they have chosen a particular score. If they are familiar with one or more of your key competitors you can also ask them to rate the same factors for these competitors.

Task Three – Organise a Customer Forum

Customer Forums or Focus Groups have received a bit of a bad press because of the tendency of some politicians to change their policies based on the results of their latest Focus Group. If you think about it this is more of a criticism of the politician than the tool and from my experience customer forums remain one of the most effective ways of strengthening your relationship with your key customers while at the same gaining a much deeper understanding of their needs, aspirations and perceptions of your business.

Like many other things in life and business the important thing is to get started and make something happen. Even if you only implement one of the tools mentioned above your business will be better for it and you will have started your journey towards growing your business by improving your customers experience of dealing with you – and in my many years of experience I never found a better way of building a successful, sustainable and profitable business.

I love helping business owners get to grips with their marketing so if you have any questions or would like more information please visit the MGBA website www.mgba.co.uk or contact me using the details below:-

 

E-mail: peter.schofield@mgba.co.uk

Mobile: 07831 550157