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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Are Customer Surveys really important and helpful to Small Businesses?

Because satisfied customers are loyal customers.  Loyal customers come back and buy from you again, and tell their friends all about the great service they have received from you.  Then their friends come and shop with you too.
Customers that are dissatisfied or just feel neutral are more likely to try the competition.  They won’t tell you, they will just do it, and they may never come back to you.
Big businesses know this, and carry out customer surveys all the time.   A number of small businesses however will often skip market research as they feel that they cannot afford it or that it is not relevant to them.  However customer research is important regardless of business size, here’s why:

1.       You will learn about the strengths and weaknesses in your product offering.

Imagine you are an online retailer and you send out a customer survey just after an order has been shipped to a customer.  You can find out whether your website is helping or hindering your customers shopping experience.  Or perhaps your turnaround times are too slow and customers want to shop elsewhere to get their goods faster next time.   This is all information you can find out by sending a quick five minute customer survey to customers after a transaction.

2.       It makes customers feel special  

Sometimes businesses do not do customer satisfaction research because they think that only disgruntled customers will participate.   Disgruntled customers will participate, which is great way to find out if there are any weaknesses in your service offerings that you could improve.   Satisfied customers will also participate, which means you will find out the strengths in your service proposition that you can use as part of your advertising and acquisition programme.

3.       There may be a higher cost of not carrying out customer research

By not regularly surveying your customers you run the risk of missing opportunities to grow, or losing customers without realising why.   Customers love being involved in developing new product or service offerings, and when they see their suggestions actioned they are more likely to feel valued and therefore become more loyal.

When is the best time to conduct a customer satisfaction study?

When you are asking a customer to evaluate the service they have received from you, it is best to send them a survey soon after they have completed a transaction.
If you are a restaurant you may wish to give the customer a survey to complete with their bill.   Make it very easy for them to complete it and return it, for example, by providing a drop box in the restaurant or giving them a stamped self-addressed envelope to return the survey in.
If you are an online retailer then you may wish to email a survey to your customer within a week of when you expect them to have received their order.happy cust 2
The most important thing is that the service is still fresh in the customers mind when they are filling out the questionnaire in order for them to be able to give the best feedback.
We are currently working on a number of templates that will allow users to run their own customer surveys, so far we have a satisfaction survey for an online retailer available.  So if you are an online retailer looking wanting to start your own customer satisfaction research program then our questionnaire is perfect for you.     If you are not an online retailer let me know in the comments below what type of business you run.

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