As entrepreneurs, we all know that customers breathe life into business, especially as an early stage startup. So, in order to build a business with customers that decide to stick around, it is important to make sure they are happy.
Studies suggest that 78% of consumers have ended a transaction due to bad service. And a typical business hears only from 4% of it’s dissatisfied customers. So, how do you know if your customers are happy? How do you know what your customers truly like and don’t like?
Happy Customers, Happy Business
Customer feedback can do wonders for your business. You can build stronger relationships, develop customer advocates, increase customer satisfaction and decrease your customer churn rate.
So, how do get feedback from customers that matters? Here are some actionable strategies to help you gather feedback that’s meaningful to your business.
The easiest way to find out what people want is to ask them directly. Call your customers and use inbound calls as an opportunity to gather feedback indirectly. Use a CRM system to log direct feedback. Given the increased use of digital communication, a phone call stands out like no other.
Research suggests that 53% of consumers are irritated if they don’t speak to a real person right away when they have a problem. A telephone conversation provides you the opportunity to really connect with a customer and build a relationship. Phone calls also make it easier to explain complex ideas and have a back and forth conversation.
Create questionnaires and surveys.
Although inbound and outbound telephone calls are a great way to build relationships, you should still pursue e-mail feedback. Getting customers thoughts in writing through a questionnaire or survey is one of the most well-established and proven feedback techniques. However, it is important that it is done correctly.
According to the Radicati Group, a technology marketing firm, a business person receives approximately 122 emails a day. Of those 122 emails, 9% is spam mail that made it through the spam filter and well over half of the rest are messages they did not expect.
So, make sure your email appears inviting and relevant so that they not only open your email, but you can get a response. Be sure to tell recipients why you are sending the survey (and it doesn’t hurt to include an incentive either). Response rates increase when you tell someone why it’s important.
Also, take special care in crafting your questionnaire and survey requests too. They should be personal but short. Construct only smart, open-ended questions and only ask questions that fulfill your end goal .
Conduct focus groups.
Focus groups provide you with raw, unbiased insight into what customer’s think about your company’s products and services. These interactions also provide the opportunity for people to learn more about your business. In this setting, participants can build on each other’s responses and develop ideas that might not have occurred in a one-on-one interview setting.
Connect on social media.
Nowadays, when customers have a question, complaint, or compliment, they usually go directly to social media. Make sure to monitor all of your social media platforms regularly, including the customer review sections on your website. You can also do a Google search on your business to find out if customers are talking about you on blogs and forums.
Finally, once you’ve received customer feedback, let them know you heard them! There is no point in getting feedback and not acting on it. Responding quickly to their feedback is a key way to keep a frustrated customer happy.
Let them know about the actionable support changes and improvements you’re making and be sure to thank them. Your business will stand out, and you will garner a following of long-lasting and loyal customers.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Dana Sellers is a business development consultant and the founder of Gray Capital Solutions, a full-service consulting firm that focuses on the growth and development of startups and small businesses. Connect with @graycapsolns on Twitter.