Use online surveys to listen to your customer

Success through customer feedback

Successful businesses must be successful at listening to what their customers are saying. Understanding what the other party thinks about a business practice, product, or service is worth it’s weight in gold. The “other party” may be a customer or an employee. Both have valuable information, which if captured correctly, can lead to improved sales figures and better service. The bottom line is that we need feedback in our business to succeed and grow. Lets focus on listening to our customers and making course corrections if necessary using the right tools.

Real world feedback story

More than a decade ago, on a business trip in a moment of weakness, I bought a certain breaded fish sandwich from a certain fast food restaurant with a certain clown for a mascot. Perhaps I was remembering my days outside of the United States where this product was highly superior to it’s American counterpart. Nevertheless on this day this particular product was, lets just say, substandard by anyone’s measure. One bite in I was so moved by this culinary experience that I decided that I was not only done with my meal, I was going to complain. I rarely make a fuss about these issues but this day was different. Because I had used the drive through window to order my product and did not feel like turning back and retracing my steps going back to the restaurant to speak with a company representative I went online.

Things aren’t always like they appear

The website was very welcoming and allowed for a detailed account of the experience including a method for locating the store and a description box for commenting about the occasion. The comment box was large so I assumed they want the truth and nothing but the lengthy truth so that’s what I detailed. This was perfect I could reach out and express my frustration with such convenience. I spent a few precious moments detailing the account of my experience to the online form. After completing my survey and submitting it’s contents I immediately received an auto-generated response in my inbox thanking me for reaching out but apologizing that they could not help. I realized that no human eyes would ever see my masterpiece. The parent company has no connection to the franchises and apparently no one assigned to read the comments left on their site. The response told me If I had a concern I needed to speak to the store directly. The problem was that I would not be returning to that store because I was traveling and would probably never return to the restaurant. Hope was lost and dinner was ruined.

Learning from others mistakes

In the years following I have never ordered the same sandwich and more importantly never forgotten my unheard cries for recognition. As a small business owner that experience has taught me several valuable lessons. I must make every effort to reach out and listen to my customers. Most of my customers are never met with face to face so I rely heavily on technology to provide this feedback.

Gathering feedback through online surveys

Much of my feedback comes in the form of online surveys. I can gather valuable data directly from customers concerning my products and services and learn from my business mistakes with software tools. The tools for gathering information from customers has come leaps and bounds in the past few years and without a programming background I can use templates to make custom surveys that look great and fit my business identity. A form on my site as well as forms within emails sent to customers has helped me improve in more ways than one. Getting online forms has never been easier to do and no business big or small should have an excuses as to why the customer’s voice cannot be heard this way. Remember that all the tools in the world will profit a business nothing unless they take that time to listen, really listen to the customer. Sometimes simply listening is enough to make it right.

Jared Jaureguy is a Technology Consultant who has helped many businesses implement the best use of technology to help grow their business. You can follow Jared on Twitter @JaredJaureguy.