Are You Listening to Your Customers?

customer surveyThere’s more competition for consumers’ dollars than ever before, so it’s vital you know what your customers want and need. And today, it’s relatively easy to uncover what your clients and customers want—just ask them. Surveying your customers is actually pretty simple. Here’s how to find out what they’re thinking about:

Set goals. Your surveys shouldn’t be too vague or general. Consumers won’t answer them. The best surveys focus on a specific topic or concern. For example, let’s say your site is experiencing a lot of abandoned shopping carts. Are potential turned off by your shipping costs? Focus your survey on that topic and don’t distract them with other questions.

Keep it short and simple. No one has the spare time to spend clicking through questions online, filling out forms or talking to telemarketers—those things will depress response. So, however you choose to survey people, keep it short and simple. It’s best to limit your survey to 10 or less questions. It’s also easiest to offer multiple-choice questions—but make sure you provide space for customers to offer their own opinions, if they so choose.

After you determine what you want to know, you have several options for how to actually connect with your customers:

  • Online: It’s easy to develop online surveys using survey tools such as QuestionPro or SurveyMonkey.
  • Social Media: Use social media to conduct informal surveys on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn by asking quick questions or taking polls. You can get more sophisticated with tools like Surveys for Facebook.
  • Dial it in: You can do phone surveys, either in-house or by outsourcing the job to a telemarketing company. To increase your chances of getting customers to participate, make the surveys part of post-sale follow-up. To make sure their experience with your company is fresh in their minds, make sure to call customers shortly after you provide your service or sell a product.


Photo courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock

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