The value of customer feedback
If you have ever written a business plan for your own business, then you will likely have included a section on market research. This is the bit where you tell potential investors why your product or service will work for your customers, and therefore why it will make money.
Once you’re up and running, you might think that you don’t need to do any further research surveys and questionnaires, but you’d be doing your business injustice by not continuing in your quest to ensure that the services and products you’re providing are exactly what your customer wants or needs.
What your customers want (and need)
The people who come to you are looking for a product in your arena. If you’re a gym, they want to get fit, lose weight, look great. If you’re a restaurant, they want to eat great food, drink excellent wine, and have a great time. These things are obvious, but are you achieving the goal? What is the overall perception of the guest?
You could ask your customers to fill out comment card, ask them to plug in a web link from the bottom of the receipt, or send them an email survey, but these methods, at the rate of return, are simply NOT effective enough. There is a more intuitive way round the market research. Wait for it …
Competition is everywhere! How to you compare?
You have to know how your customers rate your product or service. There’s too much competition not to. What are your guest perception on your business vs the competition? There’s no place for defensiveness here – this is real market research – what you need is blood-and-guts honesty, because if there’s something you can do to improve your offer, you need to know and you need to act!
Why? Because when you’re trying to figure out where you stand with the competition and the customers, you need to be in the position where you can be pro-active vs reactive. Are you really giving them what they want? Is there something more that the competition is supplying? Is your perception of what you’re giving them the same as their perception of what they are getting? Where are the gaps in your product range? Being knowledgeable and nimble here, is the key to survival.
Where does the honest information come from?
The best information is candid. A rule many restaurateurs have is to ‘Touch Every Table” but reality sets in and NOT everyone shares their experience. So what’s the best way to get that instant, top of mind feedback regarding their overall perception?
and how do you do that with a survey?
The truth is, you don’t.
The RIGHT online review system can work wonders for your market research
Online reviews are the single best, most cost-effective way to obtain ongoing customer experience feedback without difficulty. You may not have the ease of being able to extrapolate dozens of answers to the same question, but the candid nature of a review will show you so much more.
Better than the usual styles of market research, you get to respond to your customers, improving relations between you, even if their review was a negative one, and you get to improve your business immediately; no waiting around for collated survey results.
You can see at a glance if your customers need more or less variety, better wines, more personal trainers, more or less foliage in the foyer … everything. Most people don’t write more than just a few lines, so they’ll only write about the things that matter most to them.
Of course, online review systems are fraught with dishonest and fake reviews. We know that around 16-25% of all reviews are (according to Yelp) completely false. Clearly these are not going to help your research.
What you need is the new generation of online review systems, like iTrueReview, which pull honest, direct, and instant feedback from genuine customers every single day. Guaranteed, honest, market research, candidly collected from your own customers.