Would you like to know what your customers think of you but are afraid to ask? This process is not for the faint of heart and it is essential to keeping healthy, long-term relationships with customers. In a recent conversation with one of our customers, he explained about the long-time relationships (of more than 20 years) with some of his customers. He commented that he no longer feels the need to ask for feedback because they tell him every time they are not happy or when his staff has really impressed the customer.

Your customers will tell you how to best serve them, what your competitors are offering them, how well you perform compared to other vendors, and why they continue to do business with you. If they are no longer a customer, wouldn’t you like to know why?

Here is a process we recommend which uses a Survey Monkey questionnaire and telephone follow up. The questions are:

  1. Please rate how well our service level suits your needs
    1. Excellent___ Fair___ Acceptable___  Not acceptable___
  2. Please tell us how well we communicate with you and if often enough.
    1. Excellent___ Fair___ Acceptable___  Not acceptable___
  3. When we make an error, how well do we respond and fix?
    1. Excellent___ Fair___ Acceptable___ Not acceptable___
  4. Please tell us how competitive our pricing is.
    1. Excellent___ Fair___ Acceptable___  Not acceptable___
  5. Do you feel we value you as a customer?
    1. Yes___ Sort of___          No___

You may need to send this survey as much as three times via email to get answers from your customers and former customers. If you are not getting many responses (people tend to not respond to surveys) you will need to pick up the phone and attempt the survey verbally.

When you do engage in a phone call with customers on this topic, begin your conversation thanking them for their time and explain that the purpose of the call is to learn how to serve them better. You should know about their amount of business with you and buying habits before making the call. You will be credible in the phone interview if they believe you know a lot about their relationship with your company. If the customer does not sense sincerity in your purpose, you could be adding harm to the relationship.

The phone call need not take more than 15 minutes and let the customer know that is all the time you are asking for. Take notes as they talk and ask for specific examples that you can take back to your staff.  Customers will give you the benefit of the doubt if they believe you are sincere in valuing them as a customer.

Lastly, once you have information in hand, compile the results and determine what you are going to change in your operations. Communicate the changes through a newsletter about the “new and improved customer care” process. It is important that customers believe you did not waste their time.

Tell us what process you use or questions that you feel are better asked than the ones shown here.

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