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Get Inside Their Heads

There was an accident. All of the sudden Mel Gibson had the power to hear everything women were thinking in the movie “What Women Want.” Wouldn’t you like to get inside the heads of your customers to know what they’re thinking? Fortunately you can, if you implement a survey a strategy to gain valuable insights.

Why?
Unless by some miracle your business is perfect, you have as many customers as you want and you’re happy with your bottom line, you should look for ways to improve and grow. With a good survey to the people who keep your business going, you can improve product offerings, discover new product ideas and deliver exemplary customer service by understanding and then giving your customers what they want.

What?
Creating a survey is easy. Asking the right questions, and the right amount of questions, is the toughest part. To garner useable results, you need to consider first what you’re trying to learn from your intended audience. If you want quantitative data you’ll need to ask rating scale questions. For possible testimonials or reviews of products, you’ll want more qualitative—or open ended—questions. Oftentimes it’s good to have a mix of both. But keep your survey length within the time expectations of your intended audience. If it’s too long you’ll lose responders.

Who?
Now that you know what type of information you want to collect, you can determine who would be the best audience segment to answer the questions. Maybe you want to survey only customers who are using a specific product offering. If you’re looking for potential customer preferences you won’t survey your customers at all.

Where?
There are many ways for you to create a survey and distribute it to your target audience; and you may want to utilize a few channels depending on your audience preferences. You can direct mail, e-mail or set up an online survey. If your target audience is into social media, you may want to post links to your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages.

When?
The information you’re trying to collect will determine the appropriate time to survey your audience. Some companies will survey customers with every order (think restaurant feedback card) while others will choose to conduct annual surveys. The goal is to maintain a pulse on your customers.

How?
Once you get results, use them. Take some time to analyze what your customers had to say. There will be some “no kidding” moments but you’ll also be met with some surprises. In the end, you’ll know what customers want and be able to make the changes to achieve positive results for your company.