They may not be as common for independent retailers as they are for big-box retailers, but customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to improve your small business.
In addition to gathering valuable data directly from the people who pay your bills, surveys can create a stronger sense of community and provide insights you wouldn’t normally have access to. If used correctly, the feedback from surveys can also convert potential problems into opportunities for sales, retention and growth.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to connect with your customers, here are five benefits of satisfaction surveys.
Feedback. Chances are you’ve heard the mantra, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When it comes to your small business, there are probably things you’re unaware of or take for granted. Surveys are a great way to step back, get honest opinions from your customers and learn what you don’t know. But remember, quality is more important than quantity; if you want data you can use, it’s important to ask the right questions.
Communication. While newsletters and e-blasts are great ways to reach out and stay in touch, they are forms of one-way communication. Satisfaction surveys, on the other hand, provide your customers with an opportunity to respond. By showing your customers you value their feedback – and by then implementing that feedback – you also build a sense of community. Instead of seeing their trips to your store simply as cash-for-goods transactions, they will see them as positive customer experiences.
Retention. With positive customer experiences comes higher retention rates. Given the choice, many people prefer shopping where their voices are heard and their opinions are valued. By providing some type of reward for participating in surveys – whether it be discount coupons or entry in a draw – you can increase loyalty and retention rates even further.
Content. Sharing your findings – either in store, online or both – is a great way to engage existing customers and attract new ones. Even negative feedback can be beneficial; honesty and transparency are valuable brand traits, and a commitment to constant improvement helps build trust. The surveys themselves can also serve as content. For example, simply ask your Facebook audience, “What is one thing we could do to improve your customer experience?” Watch the responses roll in and use them to your advantage.
Growth. If you’re satisfied with the status quo and “business as usual,” customer satisfaction surveys are not for you. But if your entrepreneurial spirit still burns bright and you’re dedicated to evolving as a brand, they can help take your company culture to the next level. By reaching out, engaging your customers, gathering data, and then using that data to better their shopping experience, you’ll be sure to gain a following as committed to your business as you are.