Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just Try It Out #3: Customer Feedback

Your company may already have an idea of what your customers think about you. But, without proper research, you cannot be certain. By conducting regular, formal customer feedback surveys, you can identify the needs, wants and opinions of your customers in a much more accurate manner.

If you are unsure where to start, the following tips will give you an idea of how to prepare and conduct the feedback, and what to do with the answers found.

Think about what you want to find out
Write down everything you would like to know from your customers, and then think about which questions you actually need to know. If you have too many questions clients will tire of your questionnaire, so keep it short and make sure it is of use. Select only the questions that will have a bearing on your business decisions.

Think about who you want to ask
You don’t need to ask every client you have ever had each time you conduct feedback. Be focused and profile clients to target. However, avoid only selecting clients who will provide a positive response. Negative feedback is just as useful, if not more useful, than praise.

Think about how you will contact clients
The most appropriate method of contact will depend on your target group. Methods include electronic means, such as through a website or via e-mail; traditional methods, such as by post, fax or telephone; or face-to-face interviews.

Think about the language you use
Questions should be easy to understand and should avoid being leading or vague. Try also to make questions interesting. After all, your customers are doing you a favour; it’s only fair to make the experience as painless as possible for them.

For small feedback surveys, a simple spreadsheet may suffice to analyse the information collected. Depending on how in-depth your survey is however, you may need to use survey software to analyse the results accurately. Once analysed, try not to get bogged down by all the statistics. Think about the initial question and how the analysed answer relates to this, this will help you to make sense of it all.

Think about how to put the information to good use
Consider how the results from the survey affect your business and what realistic changes you can make to make an improvement.

Above all, don’t let the information go to waste.

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