The growth of a successful small business depends on repeat customers, and customers return only when they are very satisfied with the product or service they offer. It goes without saying that your initial focus should be on providing an exemplary product or service. Once you have a solid foundation, you should focus on the second part of creating an iterative business. It’s about tailoring the offering to what your customers want and want.
Existing customers each have a wealth of information that can help you solve more problems and increase sales, as well as give you an idea of what you can do to attract new businesses. The only way to get this information is to ask questions directly from customers and get answers.
Questions to ask customers
There are many types of questions you can ask your customers to get feedback on your product, service, customer service, and overall business, but it should include the following basic questions:
- Why did you choose you as your service provider?
- What services have we done for you?
- How would you rate the services received? (Grade scale provided)
- In what areas have we met your expectations?
- In which areas can you improve?
- Would you recommend us to someone else?
Whenever you ask for customer feedback, be sure to ask the right questions to get valuable feedback without asking too many questions and without the risk of not getting a response. You may also consider offering incentives to complete surveys, such as coupons or other discounts. Especially if the response speed is not desirable.
How to ask a question
In addition to hiring an external survey company to do surveys on your behalf or conducting formal focus groups that are financially impractical for many small business owners, there are several ways you can ask for feedback from your customers. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Start conversation
The customer feedback process can be as simple as an e-mail message or a personal phone call with a customer question. While this method is easy and fast, it has some drawbacks. If you take an unofficial approach to client feedback, you risk getting your messages cleared and eventually lost in shuffles. Also, if you’re asking questions in a conversational way, you’re most likely using open-ended questions that prevent all sorts of consistency across all customer surveys. Finally, if you want to make it into any kind of usable format, you have to do it manually with the data collected.
2. Fill out an online survey
If you have a standard question you would like to raise to a large number of clients, you can take the informal format a step further and create a standardized survey. You can create protected forms with word processing applications, PDF forms, or forms that can be submitted through a website (or a third-party site). This format takes more time to fill out, but you can send one standard survey to all your customers.
3. Using a hard copy questionnaire
Depending on the type of business, it is best to use a hard copy questionnaire that is mailed to your customers. Include a stamped envelope with your own address to make it easier for customers to return to your survey. We also have a system for entering data into Excel, other software, so you can collect, review and run reports on your data.
The key to the customer feedback process isn’t just collecting data, it’s actually getting information that your business can use.