Systematic and timely feedback on how your customers are feeling about your products and services is essential to your organization's financial health, regardless of whether you are a startup entrepreneur, a consultant, a non-profit, a product line manager, a web site manager, or a CEO.
Audience sensitivity is what should inform all decisions up and down the line of command in all organizations. Sales and profits will rise and fall on this basis alone.
The core questions that constantly need to be asked of all customers are simple and straightforward and are not hard to implement in a systematic way, such that you are never in doubt about what your customers feel about your products/services. Here are some basic questions that fit many organizational needs.
A. About the Products/Services Currently Being Used
- Which of our products/services are you currently using?
- How long have you been using them?
- How did you first learn of our company/product/service?
- What were the reasons you purchased our product/service?
- What do you like most about the products you are using?
- What do you like least about the products you are using?
- Please rate your satisfaction with attributes of the products you are using?
- How likely are you to upgrade to the next version of the product/service?
- How likely are you to buy a new product/service?
- What level of loyalty to our organization do you feel?
- What other products/services from other companies have you considered?
- What future products/services would you like us to add?
B. About Our Customer Service
- Have you contacted our Customer Service?
- If so how many times?
- What was you main concern?
- Did you get your main concern resolved?
- If not, what is the main reason for not getting it resolved?
- Please rate your satisfaction with the personnel who handled your concern?
- Are you more or less likely to purchase another product as a result of the visit?
- What is your current overall satisfaction rating of our company?
- Besides our products and services, are there any company policies you are aware of that you feel need to be modified, and if so, how?
- What one thing can we do to improve our products, services, or policies to better serve your needs?
C. About You (age, income, job title, gender, industry, interests etc.)
After you start hearing what your customers are telling you, the people involved in your organization will have a vastly increased sensitivity to those areas of greatest concern and will respond. You as a manager will also see more clearly where systematic changes are needed.
Once you have an ongoing survey set up at your web site or one that is sent every month to new users, you will have a wealth of information that will allow you to improve and measure improvement in customer satisfaction over time. You also have the basis for informing product development of customer demands for new features and benefits.
Finally, our ExecStats online reporting system will give you the accessibility that you also need to bring the customer sensitivity into your everyday decisions. You will be able to slice and dice the data as never before.
Bottom Line: With a customer satisfaction feedback loop (see our OODA Loop article), you will notice certain customer concerns disappear, while new ones arise to be addressed. Timely handling of these concerns will bring back and retain current customers. Retained customers help organizations get through economic downturns, but they are always a blessing to the profit line in good times as well. It costs many times less in PR, branding and marketing to have repeat buys and loyal customers.