26 Mar 2012

5 questions to ask your customers

Nothing is more important to a business than its clients.

Please your customers and they’re likely to stay loyal, as well as to recommend you to others. Fail them and they’ll depart, spreading word of their dissatisfaction in the process.

The best way to judge their experience of your service is, of course, to ask them.

Here are five important questions to help make sure that your customer relationships are strong.

1. What could we do better?

Few relationships are perfect. Asking what you could do better allows you to identify the areas where you most need to improve, helping to put your priorities and those of your customers in sync.

This question will also illuminate areas in which you need to adapt or invest. You might learn that your customer really wants online tools, for example, or that they would prefer their service to be delivered in a slightly different way.

2. What could we do for you today that we didn’t do yesterday?

This question is not only about improving the service you currently deliver, but also about building stronger relationships through better understanding customers’ needs. It will also help to gather ideas for new services.

3. Why do you do business with us?

The values you believe you bring to your customer might not be the same as those they perceive. Understanding why each of your customers choose to do business with you can help you market yourself to others while working to improve your market differentiation.

4. Have you ever recommended us to others?

An affirmative answer is of course a good sign, but it can also be useful to know what types of businesses your current customers are putting forward your name to, and for what types of needs. If the answer is ‘no’, return to question 1.

5. How would you rate our performance out of 10?

One-on-one qualitative feedback is the best way to improve the way you service an individual customer, but it also misses an opportunity to track business performance across the board. For a big-picture look that provides insight over time, you’re going to need metrics – ratings on service, satisfaction, responsiveness and so forth.

The best surveys use as few questions as possible while also giving clients room to selectively explain their ratings with an optional written response.

Robin Marchant is National Marketing Manager, Brennan IT

*** Article featured in the March 2012 edition of the voice ***