Full disclosure, this post has very little to do with its featured image, but I have been dying to find a way to get Mr. Feeny in some of my written work.
When you think about marketing tools, many things come to mind: clever copy, sharp graphics, emails that beg you to open them, social media content that you can’t help but share.
Customer surveys are probably not the first thing that pops up.
Or the fifteenth.
But customer surveys are a powerful tool and, when used intelligently, they can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.
Customer surveys reveal what your real struggles are.
Maybe you think your product doesn’t have enough features. You keep pushing your development team to catch up with the hottest new tech to stay relevant in your industry. But when you survey your customers about what their frustrations with your product are, it turns out that the lack of hot new features barely makes an appearance.
Most people are buying your product because of its simplicity and idiot-proof ease of use compared with the competition. The more extraneous features you offer, the more complaints you get from customers about how their grandmother used to be able to operate it, but not anymore.
Of course, the only way to get this information (aside from scouring online reviews) is to actually ask your customers. You can do this through focus groups, but the numbers you can reach and the questions you can ask will naturally be limited. With surveys, you can hear from a wide number of people who care about your product or service; this is exactly the kind of person you want to reach.
Customer surveys help you narrow your focus.
Do your surveys reveal that there are several of your products or services that people usually use in tandem with each other? Are there others that seem to be one-offs that rarely connect with the same community of people? Perhaps it’s time to narrow your focus and drop offerings that don’t appeal to your ideal customer.
If you’re a hair salon with a rabid following of curly hair customers who come to you for regular cuts, colors, and that oh-so-elusive perfect conditioner, maybe it’s time to drop the blowouts and keratin treatments and strive to be the absolute best in your own niche of fabulous curls.
Even when your ideal customer isn’t defined by something so obvious as hair type, surveys can reveal key information about the products that keep people coming back again and again.
Are you a customer of ours? We want to know how we did!
Customer surveys give unhappy people a productive place to vent.
Unsatisfied customers happen to the best of us. In the worst-case scenario, they take their frustrations online, salting the earth behind them as they complain bitterly about you across multiple social media (and sometimes traditional media) platforms. But this most often occurs when customers feel that there won’t be any response to their complaints unless they add social pressure.
Customer surveys offer a chance for people to vent their frustrations privately. If you respond quickly, you can head off a public scene before it even happens, which not only leaves your ratings higher, but also saves your social media team from having to track down and respond to negative reviews one by one.
CUSTOMER SURVEYS ARE AS MUCH A SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF AS THEY ARE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS.
Yes, you’ll learn more about the demographics and interests of your ideal customer. But they will also bring into sharper focus your weaknesses and strengths. You’ll get to peek at your brand as seen through the eyes of others, rather than as you imagine it to be from within.
Surveys are a mirror through which businesses can see themselves. You might, like Alice, find the resulting image “curiouser and curiouser,” or you might discover that you’re exactly on track. But either way, it will help you to know yourself as a company, leaving you well-positioned to take on new challenges while pruning away the old.
Customer surveys are a very powerful and effective tool. They’ll help you get to the bottom of what your customers actually want from your product, give them a safe place to share their concerns (that isn’t visible to the public), and give you new insight into your business— and that’s just the beginning.