Customers hold the key to great marketing, how to change your products and how to improve your service – getting this information, however, can be tricky.
In the age of customer-centric design and service design, it’s vital that you gather the insights that can help propel your business to the next level.
While big business can mine all sorts of insights from treasure troves of data, small businesses can do something very simple: ask questions.
As long as you record the information, asking simple questions of your customers can hold the key to improving your marketing.
Here are three simple questions you can ask to gain maximum insight.
1. How did you hear about us?
Businesses promote themselves in multiple ways, and asking this question can help you narrow down which marketing is working for you currently.
This is powerful information because you can then be more strategic in your choice of promotional options.
For example, I once had a client who wasn’t exactly sure which marketing methods were working best.
By asking this question, we discovered that his on-premises signage (one of his least expensive marketing methods) resulted in 30 percent of new customers.
It’s best to ask customers this question as early as possible in the business relationship (otherwise they can forget if too much time has passed).
This can be done by adding the question on an online enquiry form with tick box options or asking when a customer calls on the phone, at the cash register or through a customer survey.
Tip: Many customers will answer that they heard about you ‘through a friend or word of mouth’. See if you can find out which friend or whose mouth, as this may help to identify a successful promotion channel.
If you’re given the name of someone you recognise then make sure you send them a big thank you for the referral!
2. What do you like most about the product/service?
The information you get from this question is brilliant for helping to improve your advertising.
Rather than guessing the features or benefits that appeal to your customers, you get the words right out of the horse’s mouth!
Conduct a sales follow up survey either online or over the phone asking them what do they like most about the product or service?
You can also ask them what made them buy when they’re buying, ideally face-to-face.
An indirect way is to review online forums and reviews relating to your products and services, as information about what customers like most about your products and services may be there.
Conducting a focus group will also elicit this information and record it effectively.
Whichever method you choose, the vital part is recording the responses.
Outsourcing survey and focus groups to professionals can be one way to make sure the responses are recorded and the maximum insight is gained.
3. What is one thing that could be improved?
To stay competitive in business it’s important to look for ways to continually improve and stay relevant to your target market.
The people who use the products and services are best positioned to provide constructive feedback.
By asking for suggestions for improvement and then delivering these improvements you are deepening your relationships with customers. This builds loyalty and trust.
Some online reviews may have answered this question for you already.
However, other methods may include a customer survey either on the phone, in person or online or through a focus group.
Focus groups help with the brainstorming process, so if there are no clear answers coming forward to this question by other means, conducting a focus groups could be a good investment.
If we ask powerful questions we get powerful information.
To use this to your business advantage it’s important that the information is captured and then acted on.
Just having the information alone doesn’t bring results.
If you’re a bit shy about asking just remember like a sale, if you don’t ask you don’t get.