Asking customers for their opinion about your business provides you with an excellent opportunity to improve your company while addressing the wants and needs of an important consumer group -- potential repeat shoppers or clients. To increase your chances of receiving frequent, meaningful feedback, package your customer evaluation requests to emphasize the convenience, value and importance of the survey.
Phone and Email Surveys
When your business takes orders or service calls over the telephone, ask your customers a few questions about the quality of service they received at the end of each call. You may also ask if you can forward a short survey to the customer's email address so service can be improved for future calls. Listen to the feedback offered by the customer and thank her for her time.
When your business provides service onsite, such as a retail store, restaurant or flower shop, offer your customers evaluation cards featuring both direct questions and spaces for write-in comments. Make the questions as specific as possible. Instead of asking, "How was your shopping experience today?" ask about targeted elements of the experience, such as, "Was the store well-organized?"
If you need more feedback than you can gather with a few questions, ask customers to complete a lengthier evaluation online. Make the request at the end of a receipt, in an email or when a purchase is completed on your website. Online surveys vary in length and complexity. A small business may find using a survey creation site with a simple question and answer format adequate while a corporation may need to engage the services of a consulting firm to gather desired information.
Time and Effort
Provide customers with an honest estimation of the amount of time and effort a survey takes to complete. If you promise customers a short and simple evaluation process and it actually requires 20 minutes, you will anger a percentage of those who provide feedback, have more people quit the survey before completing it and limit the response to future surveys sent to the same customers. To offer a realistic evaluation time, run it by a focus group or co-workers first and provide customers with an average of the completion times.
Offer customers an incentive for sticking with you through an intensive evaluation. Enter everyone who completes the survey in a contest with clear terms detailed on the survey request. Alternatively, every survey taker could receive a discount coupon for merchandise or a reduced price offer for your services.
Evaluations provide you with the feedback needed to better serve existing and future customers. Let customers know that they are helping you serve them when they sacrifice their time on a survey. When you implement a suggestion, consider publicizing the change to illustrate how valuable customer feedback is to your organization.
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