How to Incorporate Customer Feedback From Surveys In Your Business Strategy

Feedback from customers is critical to the success of any business. With channels such as social media, email, and blogs seeing lively activity, there are plenty of ways to acquire it. However, one of the most effective ways is a tried and true method businesses have been using for years – the survey.

Surveys allow you to find out what your customers really want and more importantly, how you can better service their needs. Understanding what they want is vital because with the right execution, it leads to increased retention, satisfaction, and loyalty. Execution is the keyword here because it doesn’t matter how much feedback you have at your fingertips if you can’t effectively incorporate into your business strategy.

Online or Traditional Survey?

While traditional surveys still exist, they are anything but convenient in comparison to what’s possible online. For instance, when taking this route, you often have to print out the document, mail it to your customers, and depend on them to complete and mail it back. The online method generally works out better for all parties involved as customers can easily participate and submit feedback from their computer, while the organization receives that feedback almost instantly. And with no paper or mailing involved, it’s generally far more cost effective than the traditional method.

Choosing the Right Survey Solution

When it comes to online surveys, businesses have a wide variety of options to choose from. With that said, it’s perhaps best summed up as a simple matter of free versus paid. On the free side, you’ve got options such as SurveyMonkey and KwikSurveys. Both are pretty useful in their own right, but the paid options tend to be a bit more capable. For example, they typically offer advanced features such as branding capabilities, reporting tools, customer support, and the ability to customize your own surveys based on your needs. It you desire the utmost flexibility, a premium solution is probably the way to go.

Getting the Most From Your Feedback

With all that rich customer feedback at your disposal, the next step is making the most of it. The following section will explain how you can put these valuable insights into action.

Segment your feedback. Chances are, the feedback you receive from a survey is going to be extremely varied. Some customers may be completely satisfied, while others may have a lot to grumble about. A handful of customers may like to see you bring product A to life, others may prefer product B. This is why it’s a good ideal to slice and dice your feedback into segments. For example, you can have a segment for great ideas and suggestions, another for potential areas of concern and so forth.

Plan for implementation. Making the most of survey feedback isn’t a simple matter of incorporating the data and going on your merry way. You may need critical input from stakeholders, management, and employees before making a move. In order to your make your implementation efforts a success, you need to plan extensively. Discuss ideas with the appropriate parties to make sure the results truly warrant change, and be prepared to test and measure those changes to see how you’re making out.

Listen to your data. The feedback you receive from surveys is powerful data that can only reach it’s full potential when you put it good use. What are your customers telling you? That they want more competitive prices? That your customer service is lacking? In either case, failing to act could send them to your rivals. Keep that in mind.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Your customers have taken the time to give you precious feedback that enabled you to make a change for the better. What’s the next step? If you’re smart, you’ll follow up and fill them in on the results. This can be done on a personal level via an intimate channel like email, or by broadcasting the results through a public channel like Facebook or your own website. Following up is very important for the simple fact that customers like to be involved and would be thrilled to know that they played a positive role in your business. This is your opportunity to score big in the loyalty department. Take advantage.

Getting a healthy dose of feedback is important for organizations of all sizes in any field. It helps drive improvements for commercial companies, nonprofits, government entities and more. Those benefiting most from this feedback have a well thought out strategy. Do you?

Written by Francis Santos

Francis Santos is the Marketing Manager for Benchmark Email. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs. Follow him on Twitter: @emailfrancis


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