5 Things Your Customers Can Tell You About Your Business

control-resizedIf you’re a business owner, you probably fit a certain kind of profile. You’re more than likely over 30, of above- average intelligence with some college education, perhaps even an MBA. You’re certainly educated about your industry, your products, and about the competition. Still there’s always more to learn. There are small business seminars, tradeshows and conventions, and all manner of continuing education in your field. That being said, a great deal of insight and information can be found coming from a rather unlikely source. Your customers! Patrons of your shop, restaurant or business can give you some valuable education if you’ll but take the time to listen. If you really want to know how well you’re doing, ask your customers. Here are 5 questions that are most often asked and answered on customer satisfaction surveys. 1. What was your experience with our staff? It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. If your customer encounters a staff member that was impolite or (Heaven forbid) incompetent in the eyes of your customer, you need to know about it. Customer service representatives and staff are the front lines of your business and therefore your reputation depends on the care they give your patrons. If you get a lot of staffing complaints you should look at your hiring and training practices. Perhaps your staff needs additional training, or there is one person on your staff who should not be dealing with customers. Anyone can have a bad day, but repeated customer complaints require your attention. cms-resized2. How likely are you to continue to do business with us? If a customer will return to do business again, then you are doing something right.  If the answer to this question is somewhat or very likely, you’re on the right track. If they indicate that they will definitely be back, congratulations!  However, if the answer is “not likely”, you need to find out why. It could be an easy fix or something huge. Giving your customer the opportunity to comment and be more specific with a “WHY or Why Not , can be a real eye-opener. 3. Overall Satisfaction – How satisfied were you with your experience? This may sound very general, and it is. Still, it begins a dialogue that can become much more specific. 100% satisfaction is the goal, and if you fall short of that, you have some work to do. While you can’t please all of the people all of the time, you can strive to achieve the highest level of satisfaction for each individual who uses your product or service. If the answer to this question is less than positive, you’ve got some work to do. 4. How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague? If you like something a lot, you tell everyone! The same is true if you don’t like something. If your customers are happy to recommend you to their friends and co-workers, you’re doing alright. If they don’t feel comfortable sending their spouse or friend to you,  there must be a reason. Find out what that reason is, and you’re on your way to making  a real improvement. It could be something as simple as a housekeeping issue (cleaner restrooms for example), or it could be available parking or your pricing structure. Finding out about these issues allows you to address them. sale5. What are your suggestions for improving the customer experience at our company? This is where you give your customer the opportunity to lay it all on the line. Take these comments seriously and look for patterns and common denominators. Encourage your customers to be thorough and specific in their comments. Take their suggestions to heart and share them with your staff. Everyone from the owner to the mailroom is responsible for customer satisfaction. Approach each comment with an open mind and consider what you can do to improve your customer’s experience. It’s also a nice idea to encourage your customers to take a survey by offering some incentive for their time. A discount, coupon, gift card, or entry in a drawing or sweepstakes are common incentives given to customers that complete online or written surveys. Remember to take this opportunity to gather customer information such as email addresses through this process which you can later use to market your improved business in the future.      

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