One of the best ways to find out what your customers want, where you’re meeting or exceeding their expectations, and what you could be doing better is pretty simple: just ask. Online surveys make that both easy and inexpensive to execute. There are two reasons to do it now:
- Better Results. You’ll get much more accurate and helpful information by surveying customers when your company, your products, and your competition are all top of mind.
- More Sales. You’re likely to find that surveys will lift your sales. People are flattered that you value their opinion, so surveys forge a stronger customer bond. And offering a small discount or bonus on a future order as a “thank you” for completing a survey doesn’t hurt either.
I won’t go into how to craft an effective survey here. For that, have a look at our February 2012 newsletter on Gaining Insights Into Customer Behavior. In this issue, I’ll focus on suggestions for different types of surveys.
Each survey should center around a single concept. You’ll get better information if you ask respondents to consider one topic at a time. Some of the possibilities include:
Catalog Feedback. What products do customers turn to your catalog first for? Why? If they look elsewhere for other products you carry, why is that? What do they like best about your catalog? What changes would they like to see?
Order Fulfillment. Did the customer’s order arrive in good condition? Was it delivered when they anticipated? Did the product meet or exceed their expectations? Were instructions complete and helpful?
Email List Segmentation. Some questions can help you segment your email list so you can deliver more relevant information in the future. Do your respondents consider themselves beginning or knowledgeable gardeners? What do they grow? What gardening zone do they live in? Do they want to receive information, promotions, or both?
Marketing Profile. Where do your customers go for gardening information? What magazines do they read? Which gardening websites do they visit? Which enewsletters do they read? What other catalogs do they buy from?
Social Media Use. What social media do your customers use, and how often? What companies do they follow, and why? Learning more about your customers’ social media habits can help establish your marketing priorities.
In addition to emailing surveys, you can also do quick polls right on your website or in your enewsletter. Indeed, you’ll probably get the most helpful feedback on your website when people are in the process of visiting it – or input on your newsletter at the time subscribers read it.
Survey your customers now, while they’re in “gardening mode” and you’re fresh on their mind, and you’ll get a wealth of information to build on next season – and quite likely, an immediate bump in sales, too.