Repost from Small Business Trends
18 Ways Customer Feedback Will Grow Your Business
by Amanda Stillwagon
December 5, 2014
Satisfied customers lead to business growth. But in order to make sure your customers are satisfied, you need to run regular customer satisfaction surveys. These surveys go well beyond simply helping you determine your customer satisfaction levels. Here are 18 benefits.
Increase Retention Just by Asking
Customers like to know that you value them. So asking them what they think and what you can do to make their experience better is essential. Customers feel more connected to businesses that value their opinions. Simply asking customers to take a survey can increase retention and loyalty. So even if you don’t receive actionable feedback, running a survey can help you grow your business.
Find Out What They’re Unhappy About
But finding actionable feedback is still an important part of the customer satisfaction survey process. Most importantly, you can use it to identify areas of your business that could use improvement. Keeping your customers happy is critical to building loyalty, so finding the areas that customers are the least satisfied with should be a high priority.
Find Out What You Can Do Better
In addition, you can use customer satisfaction surveys to ask for general suggestions. These might not be areas where customers are necessarily dissatisfied, but where they feel you could add features or services to make their experience even better.
Find Your Strengths and Use Them to Your Advantage
Surveys can also help you find your business’s strengths. These won’t require you to make any changes in your actual business operations. But knowing your strengths could help you with your promotional efforts. If customers say you have the best customer service team or the fastest shipping, for instance, you could use that as a selling point in the future.
Prioritize Changes in Your Business
Overall, there are a lot of things you can learn from customer satisfaction surveys. So when you get the results, you can analyze them and prioritize the changes you decide to make. Don’t just focus on one aspect if you want to get the full advantage.
Monitor Changes in Satisfaction Over Time
It’s also incredibly important for you to run customer satisfaction surveys on a regular basis. This will allow you to notice differences from one survey to the next. You obviously want to see an improvement in satisfaction over the time. So if that’s not the case, you’ll know something isn’t working.
Identify What is Working by Tracking Those Changes
You can also find more specific information by looking at those changes over time. Maybe your customers aren’t overwhelmingly unhappy with a certain aspect of your business, but their satisfaction levels have gone down a bit. That information wouldn’t necessarily draw your attention if you were looking at just one survey. But when you have multiple surveys to compare, you can find this type of information. And if you’ve made changes in your business, you’ll be able to tell if those changes have gotten the desired results by looking at changes in satisfaction levels.
Improve Your Business’s Public Reviews
Another effect that customer satisfaction surveys can have is improved public reviews. When you run surveys, you can also encourage satisfied customers to leave their thoughts in a public space like Facebook or Yelp. And for customers who aren’t quite as satisfied, they are sometimes less likely to post their negative comments online if they feel like you are listening to them.
Find Sources for Customer Testimonials
You can also identify positive responses within these surveys and use them as testimonials. Having positive comments from past customers can help draw in new ones.
Improve Your Overall Reputation
Having better online reviews or customer testimonials can improve your reputation publicly. And having more satisfied customers can lead to more referrals and more buzz about your brand. All of those factors can lead to a better reputation overall, which can lead to more trust and thus more customers.
Track Your Company’s Growth
You can track company growth in a lot of different ways. Of course there are financial factors to consider. But you should also be aware of your company’s growth in terms of customers. By identifying your new customers, returning customers, and dissatisfied customers who are likely to leave your business, you can find this information.
Create New Sales Opportunities
Since you can use customer satisfaction surveys to track satisfaction over time, you can easily identify when your customers are the most satisfied with your business. Approaching customers with a new sales opportunity when they are the most satisfied with your business can improve your chance of success. So use that information to your advantage.
Help Your Staff Understand Your Customers
In order to take full advantage of your survey results, you need to make sure that your staff understands them. Your customer service reps and other team members who deal directly with customers are most likely to have a direct impact on the results. So sharing the results of each survey with them can help them really understand what they need to do to help your company grow.
Provide Incentives to Improve Service
Identifying problems or areas of improvement can also help you come up with creative solutions. If customers are dissatisfied with one area of your customer service approach, come up with an incentive for your customer service team that directly deals with that issue or ask for input from your staff on how the company can address the issue. Being part of finding the solution can be a powerful incentive in and of itself.
Increase Employee Morale
Passing along information and incentives to employees can also help them feel more connected to your business. If they know they are doing their job well, they are more likely to be happy and fulfilled at work. And that means they are likely to continue doing a great job. However, if they’re not doing a particularly great job in one area, hearing it directly from customers might help them better understand how to improve.
Find Out How to Win Back Lost Clients
In addition to finding ways to keep existing customers, you can also use the results of these surveys to potentially win back some old ones. If you lost customers, ask them why they left. If you receive useful insights and are able to fix the issues that caused them to leave, they might consider coming back. And if not, you could at least prevent your current customers from leaving for the same reasons.
Get Feedback About New Products or Initiatives
When you add a new aspect to your business, there are often some kinks that need to be worked out. So when you run customer satisfaction surveys, you can specifically ask about these new features or products to find out what is working and what isn’t. If new initiatives are causing more problems than they solve, it might be smart to pull the plug early.
Create Brand Advocates
All of these aspects, from helping customers feel more connected to your brand to making improvements based on feedback, can lead to customers that are more likely to promote your brand. These surveys can increase customer satisfaction. And when those customers are more satisfied, they are likely to share their experiences and help you accomplish the ultimate goal: to grow your business.