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Planning for 2014? Don’t Overlook Customer Surveys

Avatar of Pulse Marketing By Pulse Marketing

According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday season can represent as much as 20-40% of annual sales for some businesses. That makes the December rush an ideal time to bolster conversion rates – and when you’re reassessing your marketing strategies for the new year, feedback from all those new customers can be a goldmine.

How can you measure customer feedback?
Referrals, online reviews, and testimonials can all shed insights into customer perceptions. They won’t necessarily paint a complete or accurate picture, though; studies have shown that satisfied customers don’t always share their experiences unless they’re prompted to. In fact, even unhappy customers only speak up about 13% of the time (the rest just stop coming back for repeat business (Source: Client Heartbeat)).

To find out what customers really think of your product or service, the best strategy is to ask them directly. Patrons are more likely to share their opinions if they’ve been invited to do so and given plenty of opportunities, such as survey links on confirmation pages, emails, and receipts, or special social media polls. Coupons and other incentives are helpful, too.

Why are customer surveys so important?
A deeper understanding of your customers’ perspectives opens a host of new doors within your business strategies.

  • For one thing, asking customers for their honest opinions makes them feel like a meaningful part of your brand. They’ll not only understand that you value their input and care about their experiences, but also know that what they have to say will be heard, and could make a positive difference. They’ll be more likely to form strong relationships with your business based on that kind of trust and confidence.
  • And, of course, you’ll get greater insights into your target audience by listening to their own words. Knowing what customers like or dislike about your products or services, and how they use them, means you can market those products more effectively.
  • Surveys also allow you to pinpoint room for improvement in your business process. Even negative feedback has its value in revealing ways to fix flawed strategies, reinforce successful ones, or take a fresh start and try something entirely new. And coming from your customers directly, improvements like this are likely to be more effective than trying to analyze abstract data or statistics.
  • Finally, customer surveys can provide great content ideas for blogs, articles, product descriptions, and more. Candid responses offer a window into your customers’ unique perspectives. Incorporating their common questions, problem areas, or ideas into your online content is just another great way to engage your audience and show them that you’re listening.

Successful customer retention depends on keeping up with what’s important to your customers – and nothing can report that data better than the customers themselves.

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