Bert Seither on creating feedback surveys for customers

Getting feedback from customers who patronize a small business for its products or services is essential for the overall sustainability of the company. Bert Seither, who aids small business owners in various ways to put their companies on the right track, offers the following advice on developing surveys for customers to gauge what they are thinking about a business:

— Collect some customer information

Although collecting specific customer information is not always the best route to take, Bert Seither still believes it is important to find out a little about who is completing a customer feedback survey. You could pose general questions, such as a general city where a customer lives, a general demographic about a customer, and what a customer’s purchasing habits are. Since some people are uncomfortable divulging personal information – especially on anonymous surveys – gaining some general information can still be quite useful in painting a clearer picture of who your customers are. This data can then be used to streamline the marketing strategies you implement for your small business so that you are targeting the most appropriate potential customers.

— Ask about your products/services

In a customer feedback survey, make sure you include at least a few questions about what your small business actually sells. These questions could be about the quality of a product or service, what people like about something most, what people dislike about something, or any relevant questions under this umbrella. The goal with these questions is to narrow down what works and what doesn’t with regard to your menu of offerings. Be sure to compare this information with data you collect regarding actual sales and what people are buying from you. Once you get some real perspectives from customers, you’ll be able to solidify your line of products or services to make it even more appealing. This could increase your bottom line in the end, which is the ultimate goal of all small business owners.

— Ask about your customer service

Find out if your customers are satisfied with how your business handles customer service. Do they feel like they’re getting personal attention? Do they feel as if they are just a number? The answers they give to these types of questions will indicate if you are adequately fulfilling customer needs or if you should put a little more attention on this area. It’s amazing how far solid customer service can take a small business, Bert Seither says, so be sure you make it a top priority and get good feedback on it.

— Ask about what customers would like to see from your business

People love options. They don’t want to be told what to buy or do. Because of this, you should include some open-ended questions on a customer feedback survey to let your customers speak their mind. Ask them in general terms about what they’d like to see offered differently from your company, if anything. These types of questions could work well under a “comments” section toward the end of a customer survey.

— Offer incentives for completing a survey
Finally, if you give customers an incentive to complete a survey that provides feedback to you, they’ll be much more likely to do so. Develop a contest where you give something away for free or at a discounted rate if customers fill out a short survey. You could conduct it using regular paper, or you could even give it an online component where you have customers visit a website to take a survey or to get more information about your small business. Regardless of how you handle the process, customer surveys can work quite effectively as a marketing tool, in addition to giving you valuable information about the customers you’re targeting.