April 14, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Do You Ever Ask?

How do your clients feel about your client service? Do they enjoy the buying experience when they purchase from your business? Do they believe that you value and appreciate them and the fact that they purchase your product or service? Do your clients believe that they are an asset to your business? Do you ever ask them what they think about their experiences when doing business with you?

There are several ways for you to investigate how your clients feel about their buying experience with your business. You can send them a survey; you can request that they participate in a “focus” group; you can ask them to complete a questionnaire online. You can provide multiple ways for them to participate in your fact finding. You can even have someone call them on the phone or visit them in person to gather their opinion of your business.

Whatever you do, do something. However you gather the information that will tell you how good or bad your business’s performance is, you must collect that information and learn from it. No matter what your clients say about your business and their buying experience, you have the opportunity to learn from that information and use it to improve what you do. Even if their comments tell you that you are wonderful and above criticism, there is more data there that can help you improve your performance.

You can ask all types of questions of your clients in all sorts of ways. However, you can cause the information to be slanted or incomplete if you don’t form the survey or questionnaire correctly. We usually try to make the information gathering as easy on the gatherer as possible. Perhaps that is the wrong approach. True/false questions, multiple choice selections, or ratings on a scale about service are fine, but limited. If you want to really know someone’s opinion, just ask for it. Let them tell you in their own words.

One of the best ways to get this type of information is to ask someone what they think of your service and let them answer in a narrative format. Let them give you information in their own words, no matter how long and rambling the format may be. It will take you more time to process the information, but they will be more forthcoming, factual, and helpful than if the client just filled out a form with boxes. Ask specific questions about specific situations, but let the client answer in their own way. Put them in the role of an expert that can help, and they will provide all the information you wish.

Of course there is another source of information that we have not discussed. Have you ever asked your employees for their opinion of your client services? Have you asked for their input and suggestions about your marketing and your order and delivery process? Have you given them a forum for their views and ideas? Let them contribute and participate in your business’s operation, and you will be rewarded multifold. Employees, like clients, will help bring you success if you let them help you know how you are doing. Just make it happen.

What do your clients say about your business and your client service? What they tell you should help you make your processes better for both your business and your clients. Your employees have a vested interest in the future of your business. You should tap into their knowledge and allow them to contribute. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691 with your strategy and input. Your clients have information that you need to hear, and your employees should know that their input is welcome. What they tell you will be what they say to others, including your customers.

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