By Angela Byers, IABC Tulsa President
How satisfied are your customers? Are they loyal fans who brag about you to their friends, or are they secretly upset over problems you don’t even know about?
You probably won’t know unless you ask.
If you haven’t reached out to your customers in awhile – or if you’ve never done a survey before – it’s time. The right customer survey can provide powerful data to help guide your business decisions.
Customer surveys can be tremendously helpful – and they don’t have to be overly expensive or time-consuming. There are many free online survey tools available today, such as SurveyMonkey, QuestionPro and Zoomerang. These cloud-based programs can help you create an effective customer survey that’s a snap to email out to your list.
Of course, you can print and mail a survey, but this option is definitely more expensive and requires more time and effort for both you and your customers. As a result, your response rate is likely to be lower. If you do decide to use a print version, consider sending it along with another mailing (like an invoice or statement) to reduce your overall cost.
Tips for setting up your survey
If you use a major online survey tool, you can take advantage of their research and suggested questions to help guide you. Here are a few initial tips for setting up your survey:
- Determine your goals before writing your questions. What do you most want to learn from your customers? What information would best guide you in making decisions or business improvements?
- Keep your survey short. Customers are generally willing to spend 5-10 minutes on a survey, but being confronted with a huge list of questions will turn many people off and reduce your response rate.
- Ask questions that are specific and direct. If possible, ask questions that give you information about how to improve. Also, include at least one “open-ended” question so customers can share specific thoughts, ideas or experiences.
- Consider providing an incentive for completing the survey, such as a discount code for a future purchase or a prize drawing. Customers are more likely to respond when there’s something in it for them, so you’ll get more input.
What will you get?
The feedback you receive can create a wide variety of opportunities for business growth and planning. Survey results can help you:
- Develop pricing strategies: Are your prices too low, too high or just right? The price of a product or service is one of the key elements a customer considers before making a purchase. In order to set the right price, you need to determine what your customers consider to be fair.
- Enhance marketing campaigns: By understanding customer preferences, you can better focus your advertisements. If a current strategy or campaign isn’t getting the results you were expecting, the data from your surveys can help you modify your efforts and make them more effective.
- Design research and development activities: To remain competitive in the market and boost future prospects, you have to look for ways to develop new products and address feedback for existing ones. Based on survey responses, you’ll be able to integrate your findings into a long-term growth plan for your business.
- Strengthen customer satisfaction: Are customers pleased with what you’re doing for them or are there areas for improvement?
By asking for feedback and addressing problems whenever you can, you’ll go a long way toward building customer loyalty.
-Angela Byers, President
April Meeting – Human Connection in a 140-Character (or Less) World
Those who’ve worked in the communications field for more than 30 years have undoubtedly experienced tremendous amounts of change. Typewriters gave way to desktop computing. The press release is still around, but it’s no longer the primary arrow in the quiver. Even the way we use the Web is constantly changing with the emergence of social media, smartphones and tablets.
What hasn’t changed, though, is the importance of research, goal setting and evaluation of our efforts. Another thing that has not changed, but is often lost, is the importance of the human touch. Sure, we can blast out 140-character messages to our audiences over Twitter, but interpersonal contact is still the best way to build mutually beneficial relationships.
Join us April 16 as Mary Flowers shares insights from her 35-year career in communications. She’ll discuss how communications has changed in many ways, but also how time has reinforced and elevated the importance of several communications fundamentals.
All About Mary
Mary Flowers joined Walmart in 2009 as vice president, Global Associate Communications. In this role, she is responsible for associate-facing communications and developing ways to connect the company’s two million plus associates worldwide to what the company stands for in the global marketplace.
Prior to joining Walmart, Mary held a variety of communications- and marketing-related positions at Prudential Financial Inc., based in Newark, N.J. She led the team responsible for shaping the company’s approach to the women’s market. She has served on the boards of McCarter Regional Theater (Princeton, N.J.) and Hunterdon Helpline (info and referral agency).