Surveyed by a small business lately?
When was the last time you were surveyed by a small business? And, of those who did, how many activated positive change in their business that you, as the customer, felt?
Be the small business that does this, act on it and you will be immediately positioned higher than your competitors. Be more in-tune with your customers’ current thoughts and feelings right now by following these three steps to ensure you’re ‘delivering the goods’ through their eyes.
Step 1. Select One Area of Focus
Choose one element of your business you most need to know more about. It may be delivery speed, product satisfaction, value for money, customer service, perhaps even store or office atmosphere. Think carefully about what it is you want to discover. Do you want to know if customers would see value in (or better yet, commit to) paying for an additional product or service? Do you want to test your customers’ perception of your offering? Whatever the focus, being specific is vital.
Choose one area and hone in on it. During the process tell people the reasons for why you’re surveying them. Share with them that you’re dedicated to making your business better and getting their feedback is key.
Step 2. Survey your Customers
Surveys can be sent out via email or SMS to your database or can be as simple as asking your customers in person what they think about one element of your business. Create questions that aren’t tilted in your favour in any way. Remember, this is all about discovering if your business is truly delivering what they want.
Depending on your environment, you may want to ask customers to anonymously fill out a form. You may ask them to rate your customer service or more specifically, how many others they would be willing to recommend your business to. Short ‘tick-and-flick’ or scorecard style surveys are ideal as they take minimal time to complete.
Asking questions across a variety of areas of your business in a short survey won’t provide any real clarity. Nut-out a bunch of questions and carefully select the best 5 or 10. You can then be confident you have an accurate picture of how your business is positioned through your customers’ eyes. Decision making will be much easier when you have a clear picture of what’s working well and what needs some attention.
You may have seen businesses incentivising their surveys with gifts or discounts to encourage participation. Be careful doing this as it’s likely to generate some more favourable responses which will affect the accuracy of your findings. The best way to get responses is to add it to your sales conversation. Invite each and every customer to do the survey.
Collate the results and you’re armed to make better decisions going forward. Repeat this process every six months and compare the findings to measure progress.
Step 3. Share Your Findings
Ever wondered what happens to those survey forms you fill out? If you’re looking for your customers to do this somewhat regularly, (beyond the initial survey) communicating your findings back to the customers themselves shows you mean business and value their time and opinion. Transparency and honesty goes a long way.
You may choose to do it through your database via email or perhaps even social media. Received great feedback? Shout it from the rooftops. Received some not-so-great feedback? Put a positive spin on it. If a significant number of customers have an issue with an element of what you’re doing, acknowledge them for letting you know and most importantly, communicate very clearly that you’re hell-bent on fixing the issues.
Imagine a time you’ve been disappointed with a business, shared it and didn’t get a response. Now think about how valued and connected you would feel to that business if there had been acknowledgement of your feedback followed up by positive action!
With staff, view any negative feedback as an opportunity to brainstorm how you and your team can improve and change these perceptions. If customer service results are poor, rather than make it an opportunity to place blame on individuals, take the approach of opening it up to discussion and collaboratively create an action plan for how the team can work to improve staff culture or positive energy while at work and deliver superior customer service. It’s a great way for everyone to take ownership of the results going forward.
Identifying your downfalls can be hard to swallow however it’s what will help put you back on track to achieving your business goals. Ultimately, customers need to feel as though you’re delivering what they need. Assessing your business through their eyes is far more effective than assumptions made through your own. As business owners we look through a different lens when we see our business. We see the passion, energy and effort that goes into the everyday. It can cloud our view of what needs to be a priority and what we need to do next.
This is just one way to be customer-centric. There are plenty more to come. The results of your research, whether it be good, bad or ugly, are what have the power to lead you in the direction of where you want your business to be. It’s what you do, or don’t do with those results, that determines whether you get there.