As a new business owner, learning what your clients want can take a lot of trial and error. However, playing the guessing game can waste both time and money. This is why it can be beneficial to simply ask your clients for feedback.
Opening yourself to feedback is a vulnerable step, since there is potential for criticism. But your business can only grow when you know exactly how you can improve. The following are some effective ways to ask your clients for feedback.
- Reach out directly
Asking for feedback does not need to be complicated. Consider simply asking your customers directly for their opinion. Try to weave the question into a conversation the next time you are talking on the phone or emailing. A simple, “I’ve been enjoying working with you as a customer and value your opinion. How has your experience been so far?” can be enough.
This informal approach to feedback collection may help your client feel more comfortable with being honest. They are also less likely to ignore your request than a more formal survey request.
- Release an online survey
While informal feedback can be helpful, it’s also useful to collect tangible data through an online survey. Make a questionnaire and send it to all of your clients. Keep it fairly short, since clients don’t want to spend more than a few minutes filling out a survey. Include both open-ended and number scale questions, so you can collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Keep the survey on file, so you can collect more information later in the year and track your progress as a business.
- Set out a hard copy survey
If your business has a physical location, like a small store or a salon, set out paper surveys for your customers to fill out. These physical copies might be more appropriate if you have new clients and customers coming into your business location daily. You might even offer some sort of incentive for customers to fill out the questionnaire, such as a giveaway or a certain percent off services. Just be sure to transfer all the data to a spreadsheet, so you can analyze the data.
- Read into your analytics
You have more client feedback in front of you than you may realize. Be sure to check in with your website analytics. Look at factors like average bounce rate, when customers are visiting your site, how often people sign up for your email list, and when people make it to your contact form. Track how much revenue you are converting from your website and where most of your leads are coming from. All of these factors indicate client behavior and what you can change to bring more traffic in.
- Follow up
Sometimes a survey and an initial conversation are only the first steps in client feedback. Feel free to follow up with clients to gain more information. If you had a phone conversation with a client about how you can improve, give them a call a month later to see if they are more satisfied. If you sent out an anonymous survey, send a message to your email list inviting clients to have a follow up conversation with you. This follow through will show that you value customer opinion and allow you to clarify important points.
When asking for customer feedback, be prepared to hear glowing reviews and major critiques. While constructive criticism can temporarily hurt your pride, it will ultimately help you uncover areas where you can improve. Doing so will open your business to new possibilities and retain satisfied clients long term.