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How do you know what your customers want unless you ask them? They may not be re-ordering your product because they’ve had problems with one of its features. Maybe they’re dissatisfied with how returns are handled and wish you would streamline the process. You may think they want lower prices when they actually care more about quality. You don’t have to read customers’ minds to find out what they want � you just have to ask, and the best way to do that is with a customer survey.
Dissatisfied customers usually don’t complain � they just go somewhere else next time, and you may never know what drove them away. But if you can discover what’s wrong, or find ways to improve performance from average to excellent, you’ll not only keep customers coming back, but gain a reputation as a company that is responsive to client feedback.
Here’s a brief overview of how to set up a customer survey and what to do with the information once you get it.Which Distribution Channel?
Phone surveys used to be the standard way to reach customers, but that was before the days of caller I.D., Do-Not-Call lists and cell phones. If you’re surveying by phone in the 21st century, you’re unlikely to reach anyone under 40.
Online surveys are now the preferred method because they are cost-effective, efficient means of collecting data quickly. Links to a survey can be embedded on your website, or appear in a pop-up box when people visit your site. They can also be sent in an email if you have customers’ email addresses.
If you are using an email campaign to distribute your survey, take special care choosing a subject line. You not only want to encourage recipients to open the email, but you also want to make sure your message doesn’t end up in a spam filter. Click here for an article about which terms to avoid in your subject lines. Click here for an article about best practices for online survey invitations.
Retail stores may have success handing out a survey at the register or printing a link to an online survey on the receipt, especially if there’s an incentive for completing it. Restaurants and hotels can leave customer comment cards where they’re easily available to guests, and these can be valuable sources of feedback.
Surveys by snail mail most often wind up in the nearest recycle bin, but if you want to give them a try, look for ways to distinguish your mail piece from junk mail. Use first-class postage, pay a service to hand-write addresses, or call a few days in advance letting customers know that a survey is coming, and telling them about the incentive you’re offering for filling it out.