27th June, 2017
Customer research is often overlooked in business, but given your customers are the foundation of your business it should be front and centre.
Often, business owners will put off customer research because, frankly, it may be difficult to hear what customers are saying.
Let’s put it in perspective though: it’s better to hear the truth than go out of business altogether. That’s the power of good customer research.
On the bright side, most customer research can reveal at least as many positives as it does negatives. In fact, it can provide a well-deserved pat on the back for the business.
There are three key ways to conduct customer research:
Once you have the research, how can you use it to improve your business immediately?
Setting the price that customers are prepared to pay can be a challenge for most businesses.
Are your customers happy with the price? Do they see value for money? How would they feel if there was a price rise?
Many business owners find it extremely difficult to change prices. Finding out what your customers think can make this so much easier.
The biggest fear in putting prices up is that you will lose customers.
Finding out what they’d be willing to pay means that changes your prices will become less of a gamble.
This information could help you to confidently change price and potentially increase the profitability of your business overnight.
A sign of a good business is when customers come back.
Monitoring customer satisfaction levels and directly posing the question on whether your customer would use your business again can provide insight into whether you’ve got a repeat or a soon-to-be-ex customer on your hands.
The power of effective customer research is that it’s conducted using research principles that enable accurate information to be gleaned from customers.
It doesn’t always need to be conducted by a professional. But if it’s done independently it can reveal more honest feedback, particularly if the business is a service. Customers can be reluctant to tell the person delivering the service that it wasn’t up to scratch. As humans we like to avoid conflict.
Things can and do go wrong in business. Sometimes problems are unavoidable.
It’s most important that when something goes wrong, a business has the time to rectify the problem or apologise.
Even with good systems in place human error can occur. The phone doesn’t get answered in time, an email might be lost or an order mucked up.
Monitoring customer satisfaction levels on a regular basis can raise red flags in good time to find out more.
By asking the right questions you can be proactive and discover if there’s a problem early on. You can then figure out how to address the issue before losing any more customers.
If you’re conducting customer research by phone, you may even have the opportunity to work through the issue with the customer there and then.
Checking in with your customers on a regular basis makes good business sense.
You can make money, save money and keep your customers coming back from a small investment in research.
You might even pick up the odd testimonial or two while you’re at it!