“I don’t need research, I know what my customers think.”
Ok, go ahead and waste time, money and effort producing products or services that you think people are delighted with.
But if you don’t ask how will you ever know if your customers were happy with what they bought from you?
How many times have you sat in a restaurant with tepid food and not said anything, but have made a mental note not to return?
How many times have you muttered under your breath when a supplier hasn’t quite done what you expected and, on the next job, you chose a different supplier?
People tend not to mention little niggles, but those little niggles build up and could mean that your customers choose to buy from your competitor next time. Once a customer votes with their feet, it’s very difficult to encourage them back.
We are often so close to our products and services that we don’t see where there are issues, where improvements can be made or – just as importantly – where things are fine as they are. In a nutshell, we think we know best.
Running a regular customer health check on your business is a valuable exercise. Doing an annual customer satisfaction survey is an easy and cost-efficient task and the results will give you insights that could potentially save your business.
Here are some interesting things I’ve found from running customer satisfaction surveys:
– A sole trader was about to invest in a new automated telephone system. After carrying out some customer research, feedback suggested that email was actually most customers’ preferred method of communication and actually they didn’t mind if their calls sometimes went to voicemail. So from a customer satisfaction point of view, there was no added benefit for investing in a costly new automated telephone system!
– A client had very strong views on which new branding they thought was appropriate for their business. We found that over 80% of their potential customers hated the new branding, and much preferred one of the alternatives. Oops. Without the benefit of customer insight through research, this could have been a costly re-brand exercise with very negative results.
– An event company discovered that one particular venue always served lukewarm coffee. Given the choice between an event with hot coffee and one with lukewarm – which would you choose?
These nuggets are important insights that the businesses were able to take and feed into their decision-making process. Some of the findings have saved the businesses a significant amount of money.
You may find that you were right – your customers are delighted and have nothing bad to say about your product or service. That’s great news. The research will then give you a measure of just how happy they are, so you can repeat the project in 6 months and benchmark against the data you already have. You’ll also have great information to use for marketing purposes.
If you ask your customers for feedback then you’ll be able to
• Communicate better with your customers.
• Create benchmarks to enable you to measure progress.
• Identify opportunities for growth and development.
• Plan ahead and spot potential problems before they happen.
• Understand your competition.
• Efficiently drive your budget into the right areas.
What’s stopping you?