Don’t know what your customers want? Just ask!

In these shifting economic conditions, there’s no better time than now to take a reading of what your customers. Several good things could come out of a basic customer survey such as:

  • identifying new opportunities in products or services that you can provide and/or gain a greater share of wallet from
  • gain valuable information on a new, upcoming product or servive
  • quantify sales (units, dollar, etc.) for the next several months for improved forecasting
  • take a reading on how viral your customers are
  • goodwill; it never hurts letting customers know you want to serve them better and require their feedback to do it

Some generic questions to get the wheels turning may include:

  • what products/services are you likely to purchase in the next X months (list products and leave a field for “other”)?
  • how many of product/service X do you plan to purchase in the next X months?
  • how likely on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most likely are you to refer our company (or products/services) to a colleague? This simple question is usually quite telling and can help catagorize customes into those who are not big fans, those who are passive and the evangelists whom you may want to solicit for a WOMM campaign
  • what magazines and/or websites (trade or consumer) do you currently read/visit regularly to get information about (products/services)?

As soliciting customer feedback is a transaction, it’s advised to couch it as an effort to “better serve you”. It’s best to introduce the survey in this manner. For example, “At Company XYZ, we appreciate you as a valued customer. In an effort to better serve you, please complete the following survey…” In addition, including an incentive increases your chances for improved response.

It’s recommended to distribute the survey efficiently — email surveys are great for this as they can complete them on their own time and the response data can be sent directly to a database saving time and allowing for quick tracking and reporting.

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