What Do Your Customers Really Think?

We’re more than halfway through 2017 and do you know how well you’re serving your customers? If you’re unsure, it’s time to find out what your customers really think about your organization. This information can be critical to what next steps you need to take for the remainder of the year as well as how your company can grow and expand in the future.

Discover what your customers are thinking by conducting some research. Large companies have the budget and staff to do all types of research on their customers, markets, products, and shifting demographics. However, small businesses can also learn about customer attitudes on a more comfortable scale. Here are two important methods of research that are within any company’s reach.

  • Customer surveys. At least once a year, you should be asking your customers – how are we doing? What can we do to improve? Most customers will be more than happy to provide you with their input. Some of it you may not like but maybe need to hear. Be prepared to act on the information provided by your customers. Customers want to be heard. And, sometimes customers can give you the best ideas. They have a different perspective on the business and they are the only ones who can truly tell you what it’s like to use your product or service.
  • Focus groups. If some of the feedback you’ve received in the general survey is unclear or you want to better understand specific comments, then small focus groups can provide you with more information. This is best accomplished with an outside firm so customers can be honest and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. Again, be prepared to act on the feedback you’re given. Focus group research is not an opportunity to explain the company’s perspective, it’s a chance to listen and learn.

Survey research also allows you to gather general information about your customers with simple demographic questions. Is your customer base getting older? If so, do you need to offer a new product or service to assist them? On the flip side, if your customer base is aging, how will you attract new, younger customers to your business? Products, communication, and marketing should be targeted to your existing and potential customers.

The results of a survey may surprise you. If you have a high customer satisfaction rate – let everyone know. Release results of the survey with staff and celebrate. Write a blog about the survey and what improvements you’re making. Post it on your website and link it to social media.

But remember, if you’ve set the bar high for excellent customer satisfaction, you need to work hard to stay there or increase it every year! Challenges are good for business and customers will be gratified you asked for their opinion.