Any business that wants to grow must do so in accordance with its customers’ wishes. People like to see service providers adapting to their wants and needs over time. Conversely, a business that disregards its customers’ thoughts and grows on a tangent isn’t likely to thrive, and might even lose clients. But how do you discover the right growth direction? The answer is easy: customer surveys.
Get feedback from different points of view
The most obvious benefit of customer surveys is that they’re filled out individually. You get insight into each customer's reasons behind their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This diversifies your perspective and gives you more tools for improvement. You learn about the feelings, preferences, and other criteria that influence your patrons’ opinion of your company.
This matters because it gives you a three-dimensional view of your target audience. There are differences of opinion even among people who fall into the exact same demographic, and you have to account for those. Avoid the trap of reducing customer feedback to categories. Keeping the many human nuances in mind offers some unique avenues of growth.
Customer satisfaction as a measurable metric
Impressions and opinions don’t exactly lend themselves to quantification. You have to find a way to convert your customers’ feelings into measurable data that you can further analyze and integrate into actionable strategies.
Customer surveys are immensely important here, because their format is ideal for converting impressions into numbers. Experiment with different survey templates to find one that best fits your needs. Common formats include descriptive scales, number ranges, open feedback windows, or a combination of these.
When you have quantifiable data at hand, you can make improvements accordingly. Identify the areas in which you excel, those in which your business is lagging, repetitive bottlenecks, and promising new directions. Decide which issues are a priority to resolve and which growth opportunities are worth pursuing.
Better business-client relationships
Your relationship with your customer base is the crux of your growth efforts. If you want your clients to remain loyal to your business, you have to show them that you appreciate them as people, not just as purchasing patrons. Good customer surveys can facilitate that sense of individual recognition.
Take any template you’re comfortable with and tailor it to your purpose. Ask questions that will give you deeper insight into your customers’ mindset. These are typically less focused on your own products and more on the social context in which you do business. Here are some ideas:
- What do your customers enjoy about the general type of product or service you offer?
- How does it contribute to their lives?
- What values do they hold that they share with your business?
- What do they resent in your industry?
- How do they perceive your business in a social, political, or environmental context?
- How important are fair trade and eco-friendliness to them?
Keep the old, attract the new
Surveys are a neat tool for bridging the gap between customer retention and customer attraction. While you have to maintain your existing patron pool, you also have to ensure a steady trickle of new buyers as a backup. Without fresh customers, a business will eventually stagnate and die off.
Even more importantly, attracting new customers is a safety net. You never know when a buyer might decide to stop doing business with your brand for whatever reason. Ensure some ready replacements so that your revenue will not suffer from these occasional setbacks.
As far as active growth is concerned, both old and new customers are essential to your outreach. Long-time patrons will recommend you as reliable. New patrons will find you exciting and interesting. This two-directional word-of-mouth enables you to explore new market segments while remaining firmly rooted in a stable, proven client base.
Better service over time
Finally, business growth is a constant process rather than an occasional spur. While you contemplate big business steps, don’t neglect the slow and steady stream of improvement over time. By making incremental advancements that stack you can achieve some dramatic results without the risk that usually comes with large-scale and/ or sudden tangents.
Focus on “evolution” over “revolution”, as it were. You do this by implementing all the feedback you gathered via your customer survey strategy. Gather the data, categorize it, analyze, and develop growth strategies that will be sustainable in the long-term.
Focus on the hints as to what your customers like, dislike, want, and really need. Surveys are a veritable mine of ideas for process improvements, new product features, fresh presentation, streamlined service, and just overall better customer experience.
Most importantly, make it obvious to your audience that these improvements were inspired by their feedback. This does wonders for brand loyalty. People always appreciate a business that actively listens to them. Make your buyers feel noticed and appreciated, and they will reward you. Your business will benefit in reputation, revenue, and improved reach as people will want to recommend you to others.
In conclusion, customer surveys facilitate your business growth in a few ways. The feedback you get from different customers’ perspective affords you deep insight and builds brand loyalty. It provides you with avenues into new buyer groups and converts impressions into measurable data. You can turn survey insights into actionable strategies for both steady, long-term improvements, and disruptive growth in fresh directions.