Feedback. We crave it. No matter where we are in our careers or relationships, it’s human nature to seek validation.
The same needs hold true for your small business. So, how can you find out what your customers are thinking about your establishment? Conduct a survey!
Most large companies conduct customer and employee surveys annually; not a bad way to get close to the voice of the customer. There are many ways to design a survey that delivers meaningful results. Here are just a few ideas:
- Brief questionnaire: If you’re a truly small business, something as simple as a four- or five-question paper survey at the front of the store could suffice. Ask the most relevant questions, have customers complete it on site, and have a suggestion box nearby so they can drop in their results anonymously.
- Online survey: If you’re a more established organization with a Web site, this is simple to do. Even if you’re short on resources or budget, there are online survey tools (such as Survey Monkey), where you can put something together for little or no cost.
- Net Promoter Scores: Looking to gauge just how much your customers approve of your products and services? The NPS can assist. Simply asking one question on a scale of 1 to 10: “How would you rate us?” or “What is the likelihood you would recommend us?” will quickly establish a benchmark of your value. Results range from a 1-6 detractor (and you need to improve), 7-8 is neutral, and 9-10 are promoters (and congratulations!).
- Rewards: Don’t forget to provide incentives for your customers to fill out the surveys. Rewards can be as simple as a 10 percent off coupon for their next visit, or giveaways that promote your business like pencils or cups with your logo.
Expect customers to be brutally honest, so be open to anonymous responses. Then, gather your information, and move quickly to address any flaws that were cited and expand on ideas that were praised.
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