Being in business is hard work, and there are no shortcuts to becoming successful. There is, however, one critical task you can do to increase success – talk to your customers! Only in listening can you find out what is and what isn't working in your business. Seems like common sense, but many companies don't take advantage of measuring customer satisfaction.
Some companies are missing the opportunity to listen to and get to know their customers. As Kathleen Kuhn, President of HouseMaster, puts it, "Customer satisfaction is at the heart of what we do. Our home inspectors need to be able to measure customer satisfaction to know how well they are doing their job – and our customer surveys are a major way of accomplishing that." HouseMaster uses Satmetrix, a customer experience management tool, to survey its customers. With a Net Promoter Score of 85 (50 is considered "Best in Class"), the results of listening to the customer seem to be working.
In today's social world getting input from your customers has become quite easy and painless.
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to survey your customers:
You will need to form your survey questions, and crafting them takes some work. Make sure to add open-ended questions so you can gather data that is very specific; if your customer rates you one star out of five, you need to know why. Keep your survey short to respect your customer's time and increase response rates.
You can create and send out your survey the old-fashioned way with self-addressed stamped envelopes, OR you can use a web-based survey provider such as surveymonkey.com to go paperless and to save time. There are also many companies that will help you build the surveys and deliver them. Try thesurveycompany.com.
Timing is Everything
Send out your survey upon completion of the transaction, to ensure the results are fresh and accurate. Let your clients know that you are going to be sharing a survey with them.
Just sending a survey is very useful for growing your business, but the magic is in the follow-up. If your client reveals in their survey that they were unhappy, sending them a follow-up note or email in response can make a significant impression and possibly result in a future positive transaction.
Use the feedback you get to improve your weak spots. All feedback may not be all positive, but identifying needed improvements is the first step to success.
When you reach out and ask your customers for feedback, they appreciate your attention to detail and thoroughness. Professionalism is a path to referrals and brand identity!