Every business owner should certainly know what their unique qualities are and how their service or product is different, better than the next guy’s.
But have you ever directly asked your clients? They may have a slightly different view of this. Or they may have a very different idea of what makes you special to them.
It’s as simple as asking.
When you’re talking with a handful of your clients over the next few weeks, find a good spot to ask them “why they’re doing business with you.” Consider even asking them what they find special about you or your company.
Take some notes and after you’ve talked to enough of your clients to get some decent feedback, step back and review the feedback. You may discover some new ways of presenting yourself and your company from that point forward.
One should also consider finding out how their service can be improved.
Your waiting area (or next to the cashier) could have a clipboard with the following on it:
We are interested in improving our service to you. Please fill out the following questions and please give us the “straight scoop”:
- Should we be available to service you at other times of the day or night?
- What part of our service can be improved?
- Amongst the staff here, who services you particularly well?
- Is there someone here who does not service you well? (If this is the case, please just answer ‘yes’ and we can discuss this privately with you)
- Is there some aspect of your service that you have not fully understood? If so, please be as detailed as you can
- Is there something here that you do not agree with? Once again, if this is the case, please be as detailed as you can.
- If there was one thing that we could change about ourselves that would make things easier or more satisfying to you, what would that be?
- What do you like the most about our service?
- If we gave you a million dollars right now, would you be willing to tell all of your friends and family about us?
- …scratch that last question and ask:
- Would you feel comfortable telling your friends about us? What would you tell them?
In this day and age of email and web surfing, you might also consider sending a letter (yes, a letter that the Post Office delivers) to a number of your customers asking them to fill out a survey similar to the above.
People like being asked their opinion. They like being given the opportunity to give their opinion.
Have you ever left a place of business, a doctor’s office, a store in the mall, and something happened that just didn’t sit right with you? And then you thought about bringing it up to one of the staff or perhaps even the owner, but didn’t?
This kind of thing can happen to our customers. Whatever it is, the customer didn’t quite like and then chose not to tell us about it.
Perhaps they called in one day and the receptionist was very rude to them.
Maybe their billing statement was off by a few dollars.
Or an item they purchased wasn’t what the store’s advertisement said it would be.
It doesn’t matter. It’s something that caused the customer to have less affinity for you. Less affinity means less likelihood of doing further business with you.
However, and this is a big however, if you give them the opportunity to tell you what’s going on, nine times out of ten they will.
The information you get from surveying your customers can help you on many levels. Three that come right to mind are:
- You can roll up your sleeves and handle a customer’s concerns. Result: saved customers.
- You might find out a particular staff member of yours is not performing. Or worse, actually chasing customers away. Knowing this can be invaluable. Unfortunately, there are a small number of people who work at cross-purposes in the workplace.
- You could discover simple changes that, once made, can improve service and your bottom line.
I know some business owners that have been operating for years not really knowing what’s going on with their customers. Of course they know their buying habits and perhaps some of their likes and dislikes.
But surveying can and often does run much deeper.
It can produce a rich source of useable info that can magically improve your scene.