Why customer feedback is vital for your business

And how to get it

Marketing is really pretty simple.  Just find out what people want, and give it to them.  Or so said marketer Daniel Levis. 

Sounds simple, doesn’t it, yet people rarely do it.  Most small businesses I see do what is known as “Monkey Marketing” - simply aping their competitors without care or thought for the real wants and needs of their prospects

You will sell more if you offer what people are after. 

And customers will keep coming back if they are happy with your products and services, and how they are provided.  Ken Blanchard called it “creating Raving fans”. 

"Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans."

But how do you know what your customers want, and what keeps them happy? How do you even know what your customers like or dislike about your offering?

The answer might seem pretty obvious - ask them.

Asking your customers for feedback can provide extremely valuable insight for your business and offerings, a different view of your business than you see from the inside.  

A key input into the planning process whenever I do a business plan for a business is a customer survey.  We seek responses on key service issues, the benefits sought, the things the business does well, and doesn’t do well, its strengths and weaknesses.  The survey always adds value to the planning process, and frequently uncovers a key factor on which to build the plan.

Similarly, after every small business workshop I run I ask participants to fill out an Evaluation Form before they leave, looking for feedback on the workshop, its presentation and content.

Here are four reasons you should ask for customer feedback.

1) Learn what your customers like and don’t like.  It may be your offering itself and how well it meets their needs, or how you provide it, or your after sales service.  Solid information, unlike opinions and guesses is extremely useful.   Knowing what benefits they seek enables you to make changes to your offering and how you present and deliver it. 

Early in my consulting career a Director of a client company suggested they didn’t need to do a customer survey.  He ‘knew’ what their clients thought and wanted.  Needless to say, when we did the survey, he didn’t.  And that caused things to change.

Another learnt the critical importance of on-time delivery.  They knew it was important, but not that it was critical.  The business plan was then built around determining what on-time delivery was to the customer, and how to ensure it was met.  They became a very profitable business.

2) Make customers feel important and involved.   By asking for your customers to for their views, you’re telling them that you value their opinion.  Your customers feel important because you’re treating them as such and when they see changes as a result of that consultation they feel involved in improving your business. 

You are building a relationship, and businesses thrive on relationships.

3) Continuous improvement.  I’m a big fan on continuous, incremental improvement.  The 80/20 rule applies as much to continuous improvement as it does to sales; 80% of the problems will come from 20% of the causes.

Customer input is a key ingredient in identifying where improvements need to be targeted.  If you’re consistently listening and seeking feedback, you always have a finger on the pulse of what’s working for your customers and what is not, so you can continually improve your products or services. 

4) Testimonials – the responses customers provide can be valuable testimonials to be used on your website and in your marketing materials.
Knowing who your customer is, what they want and providing it is the key to consistent income.  There’s a lot to be gained from getting customer feedback and absolutely nothing to lose. All you have to do is ask!

Remember that people rarely praise, but often complain.  Asking customers for feedback provides the opportunity to improve your business and its offering, and eliminate the weak spots that lead to complaints.

A happy customer will help you generate the publicity for your product!

Next week I’ll look at how you ask them, and some of the options you may have.

Throw some light on the dark areas of your business

Just as lack of information on where the profits in your business are made, lack of knowledge of what your customers are thinking about your business, your products and services holds you back from making the right decisions.

If you would like to discuss how you could obtain that feedback, and use it to generate a continuous stream of profitable customers, keep those customers and minimise customer churn, contact me.  There’s no cost for a consultation.  It is my gift to you.

© Copyright 2016 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective 

Comments (1)

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