Widgets Magazine

Getting Customer's to Talk Back

Talking with a potential client this week, our conversation meandered into the topic of customer service; specifically customer feedback. This client uses a combination of Internet surveys after a job is complete as well as a phone campaign to call and gauge a customer’s feelings on how well you did a job.
This is an area some in the industry either would care to worry about or spend the money on. However, it is vitally important to your bottom line and the ultimate health of your business. When you survey your clientele you are able to take the temperature of your business in that moment in time. Yes, there will be times when you get some less-than-pleasant news. This is actually a good thing. It allows you to fix the problems you may not know you have. It will also allow you to put into place programs to reward your employees for an exceptional job. This obviously depends on the culture of your shop and how your benefits/pay packages are structured. It doesn’t hurt, though, to give someone a gift card because their job was on-time, under budget, and the customer gave them a glowing review. Here are some easy and relatively inexpensive ways to get customer feedback.
Online Surveys
The most well known would be Survey Monkey. More likely than not you have taken at least one survey on this site. It is free up to a number of questions or recipients. It will give you notifications when people answer the questionnaire as well as provide useful graphs indicating the results in easy to digest bites. You can send these out one a month to all projects you have finishes as well as service calls. You can also send it as you end a job. That way you get  a fresh perspective. It is also a viable option to let them live with the system for a set amount of time, say six months, and ask their opinion.
Phone Surveys
This can be done by an outside company or someone in your group. This is where you would call, indicate you are calling about their recent job/purchase/interaction with your company. This type of interaction encourages back and forth and you are very likely to get deeper answers to your questions than just agree or disagree on a survey. This is what a researcher would call qualitative research.
In Person Feedback
Encourage your sales staff to interact with the client after the job is done. This accomplishes two things. The first is it conveys to the client that your company is interested in building a relationship, not just one job then done. It also encourages the salesperson to uncover things that didn’t go exactly right with the job and learn from it for future jobs and they may discover new opportunities in the process.
Regardless of how you mine your customers for feedback make it an ongoing habit. In the worst case you find some uncomfortable facts about your employees. In the best case you build trust and a long-term relationship with your clients by listening to them.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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