Customer surveying is one of the most effective ways to improve your relationship with your customers. The method works on two levels: you are able to directly learn what your customers are experiencing and what they want to see in the future, and giving customers the chance to voice their opinions shows that you value them.
What to Measure
You can measure almost anything about customers using surveys – their demographics, their experiences with your business, what products they’d like to see in the future, etc. When you make and analyze surveys, a certain balance must be struck:
- Ask for and use useful demographic data, without coming across as too nosy
- Learn about what customers might like to see in future products and services, without relying too heavily on opinions that may not reflect actual demands
- Ask enough questions to get meaningful information, without asking so much that you lose customer interest
Surveys That Listen
As you formulate your survey, you’ll want to ask mostly questions that use a scale or are multiple-choice, since these types of questions are the easiest to answer and the easiest for you to analyze. As long as you don’t use leading language, asking people to rate their experiences or their opinion on a subject will provide reliable data.
You’ll also want to include a few spaces where customers can give feedback in their own words. Doing so demonstrates that you are truly interested in their personal opinion, which builds trust and goodwill. A general box for customers to place “Any comments or concerns” is effective; you can also ask for feedback on specific issues, such as what they’d like to see in a new product.
Use the Information
Now that you’ve built a survey that values and respects the customer, how you use the results will also help you retain customers. Try these ideas:
- If many customers reported a bug or a poor experience, share how you’ve rectified the situation and consider offering coupons to those affected
- Always treat your customer data with the utmost respect for confidentiality
- Use your online presence to announce new developments or changes inspired by customer surveying results
- Use customer survey data to identify what types of customers are usually retained, and which types you’re most likely to lose
When done carefully, customer surveying does more than just give you information about customers and their preferences – it allows you to improve your overall relationship with customers, thus improving retention.
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