With competition hotter than ever before, hanging on to your customers is even more important than gaining new ones. It helps if you know as much about your customers as possible and this is why customer feedback has become an integral part of any savvy company’s digital marketing strategy. Resources such as a free online survey can really assist with gathering that all-important market research information, and can also forge stronger relationships between your enterprise and its customer base – the key is being able to understand and make use of the data that your surveys return.
The key to making sense of your customer feedback is being clear about your objectives. We all want our businesses to “succeed”, but more detail is required. You can furnish this by asking a few simple questions:
How does the data show I’m doing? This is the aspect of customer feedback that few fail to understand. The immediacy of online surveys is one of their great strengths – and this is reflected in their ability to give you an “instant snapshot” of how customers perceive your company’s products, services and levels of customer care. These are the easiest information points to glean from a survey, but it is important not to neglect other important pointers, such as…
What are the points most often raised by respondents? There may be aspects of your business that customers tend to agree are outstanding, and repeated references to these are a signal to promote them more heavily. More importantly, there may be points raised again and again by customers who are either neutral or negative about your business, and these points should be the very first you address when improving your enterprise.
How do I fare against the competition? Ask your customers if they have sampled the services of your chief competitor(s) and, if so, how they compared with you. If you do not know of any local competition, this is also a good way to discover it, by asking respondents if they have ever used similar products or services and, if so, who was providing them. Use the same tactic for any kind of comparative analysis.
How have changes in the way I do business affected customer satisfaction? This question applies when you conduct a survey immediately after a major change, a revamp or a relaunch. Discovering the effects of change on your customers’ attitudes is a great way to find out if you are travelling in the right direction – or not!
Can I set new objectives based on this research? The customer satisfaction objectives of a business should be based around eternal core truths – the need to have a quality product and a strong brand identity etc – but also upon more tactical considerations. A well-worded survey helps you set objectives that support a strong competitive position and offer guidance to staff, while increasing accountability. Ask for customer feedback specifically calibrated to chart progress toward your objectives.