Most business owners steer away from asking their customers what they really think about their products or services for fear that they may find fault. This is a “bury your head in the sand” mentality that limits your potential and your opportunities to stay ahead of your competition.
How do I know this? Because I have worked with dozens of small businesses, and most of them have never asked their customers what they think. When I work with businesses, one of the first things I do is call some of their customers because if the product or service is not up to scratch, bringing in more customers will do more damage than good.
So here’s my top five questions and why you need to ask these.
1. How did you hear about us?
It is important to understand what marketing channels are working for you. If the majority of your new customers are coming from word of mouth referrals, create opportunities for more referrals. Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on advertising to people who don’t know and love you.
2. What was your main reason for choosing us?
I am constantly reminded that price is not the main reason people choose to do business with you. Consistently across the 70 industry sectors I have surveyed, trust that you can provide the right product or service is the No. 1 reason. But there are others and you need to know the reasons why customers choose you, because this is essential to your communication with existing and potential customers.
3. What is one thing we do really well for you?
This question gives you clues about why you are better than your competitors–and this creates opportunity to exploit your strong points in your marketing. Customers will tell you why you are better than the guy down the road. Your job is to make sure that you keep delivering well on your strengths.
4. Is there anything we could we do better?
This is the number one reason why business owners don’t do customer surveys, yet this is vital information that you need to know. You need to know where the gaps are so you can plug them. Don’t allow your weaknesses to be your competitors’ advantage.
5. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to refer a friend or colleague to us, where 1 is not likely at all and 10 is extremely likely?
Those of you who are familiar with net promoter score will know that a customer who scores 9 or 10 is a strong referral source. You also want to ask them why they have given you this score so that you can understand what is important to your best customers and be sure that you continue to meet their expectations.
So there you have it. With the answers to these questions, you can create marketing plans that have a balance of strategies for attracting new customers as well as retaining existing ones. You will know what areas you need to work on and what you need to constantly keep on top of to avoid losing customers.
As I mentioned before, I have conducted dozens of surveys for my customers, and it has been very rare that a customer’s customer does not want to participate. Any feedback about your business is great. It is not about you but what you can do for your customers to have a sustainable business.
About the Author: Debbie Taylor works with small and medium sized businesses to transform their business results. Her expertise is in marketing, business planning and sales and she has worked with clients in over 70 different industry sectors. You can find out more about Debbie, her business services and the results she has achieved for clients at http://www.insightbusiness.co.nz.