Every small business owner knows that success can’t happen without satisfied customers. Yet, many entrepreneurs get so busy paying attention to the multitude of tasks they need to accomplish day to day that they neglect to ask customers for meaningful feedback.
Advantages of Asking for Customer Feedback
Some ways that customer feedback can help your small business include:
- Allows you to identify how to improve your products and services. Feedback can shed light on your company’s offerings’ strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this knowledge, you can determine what improvements or changes will better serve your target market and keep customers happy.
- Attracts new customers. For example, in the case of online reviews, positive feedback can help your company gain trust and influence prospective customers’ buying decisions.
- Improves customer loyalty. By asking for feedback, you show customers that you value what they think. Customers who feel appreciated are more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
Four Ways to Get Customer Feedback
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to find out what customers think about your company and your products and services.
1. Online Reviews and Social Media
Often, customers will do this on their own without prompting, so stay alert to what they’re saying about your business online. Several sites to watch include:
- Google My Business
- Angie’s List
- Amazon Customer Reviews
Even if you haven’t claimed your profile on a review website or social media platform, don’t assume customers aren’t talking about your company there. To make sure you don’t miss out on potentially valuable feedback, consider setting up Google Alerts to detect when someone mentions your company in reviews and on the web.
2. Email Surveys
Email surveys give customers a convenient and fast way to respond to your questions about their experience with your company. Several platforms have a free option with basic features, a limited number of questions, and a limited number of emails per month. They also offer subscription plans that provide more capabilities and the ability to send a larger volume of emails. A perk of most email survey platforms is that you get analytics to summarize how respondents collectively feel about your company, products, and services.
Several email survey sites you may want to explore include:
3. Survey Cards
Asking customers to complete a short survey card at the point of sale enables you to get instant feedback. If you believe that requesting feedback on the spot will cause inconvenience for people who may be short on time, consider sending cards by snail mail instead if you have customers’ mailing addresses in your records.
4. Phone Follow-up
Especially for professional services businesses who don’t have massive amounts of clients, phone calls can be a viable way to touch base about customer satisfaction. A one-on-one conversation can deliver more in-depth insight and strengthen the business relationship.
How to Make it Matter
When asking for feedback, it’s critical to ask questions that will return the information you need to understand what your business is doing well and what it needs to improve. Below are several articles that provide helpful food for thought about crafting questions to gather customer feedback:
- The Insider: Creating a customer satisfaction survey
- 10 Essential Tactics for Creating Valuable Customer Surveys
- How to Create Online Customer Satisfaction Surveys
- 19 Questionnaire Examples, Questions, & Tips to Help You Create Your Own [Templates]
Also, consider talking with a SCORE mentor. SCORE volunteers have the expertise and experience to help guide you in all aspects of running a business—including improving and maintaining customer satisfaction.