4 'Drip Intelligence' Questions to Help You Get to Know Your Customers
Reaching out to your current customers to get feedback on how they think and feel about your business has, perhaps, never been more important. The intelligence you receive can be used to improve your business offerings.
But don't just do an annual survey for this feedback. In this economy, it's more important to get a constant flow of customer feedback on a regular basis. If you ask the right questions, the feedback you'll get — also known as "drip intelligence" — will be easily actionable, timely and give you a leg up against your competition.
By simply including one customer feedback question in every e-mail newsletter you send, you can gather the drip intelligence needed to make an impact. Here's a step-by-step example of how it might work.
Four questions to take your customers' pulse
If you publish a quarterly e-mail newsletter, plan to include a question once per quarter in an effort to gather opinions about your customers. If your e-mail newsletter goes out on a monthly basis, include a link to your question in each issue, and then start the cycle over again the following month, repeating each of the four questions in sequence. Compare your results to the first communication, and be sure to track the answers and changes in the answers over time.
Question 1: What's your overall level of satisfaction with our products/services?
This question helps gauge your customers' perceptions of your products and/or services. For this question, provide single-select multiple choice answers, such as "highly satisfied," "somewhat satisfied," "neutral," "somewhat dissatisfied" and "highly dissatisfied." Include a comment box with each question so people can explain why they rated you as they did.
Question 2: If you had a need for the services that we provide, how likely would you be to turn to us first?
This questions gauges your customers' perceptions of your approachability. For this question, provide single-select multiple choice answers such as "highly likely," "somewhat likely," "neutral," "somewhat unlikely" and "highly unlikely."
Question 3: How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?
This question gauges your customers’ propensity to tell others about you. For this question, offer a rating scale, such as "I already do this," "very likely," "somewhat likely," "neutral," "somewhat unlikely" and "highly unlikely."
Question 4: How can we provide better service? Please provide suggestions for improving our products/services.
This question helps you figure out ways to provide even better service. For this question, include a text box to allow for answers.
Start over again at question 1
Once you have your results, follow up with your customers to thank them for their feedback. Your customers will be happy to learn that you appreciate their thoughts, take their feedback to heart, and are not only listening but acting based on what they said. And be sure to let them know how other survey respondents, who share their concerns, answered the questions.
Write content that speaks to your customers' wants and needs. The more you know about their interests, the more you can tailor the content of your e-mail marketing communications to hit on the topics of most importance to them at that specific point in time.
As the economy changes, so will your customers' answers to survey questions. Track these changes, and make adjustments that help your business stay vital, current, in touch with customers and ahead of the competition.
In difficult economic times, get inside and stay inside the hearts and minds of your customers. Consumers prefer to buy from a business that cares about their needs and has a good relationship with them than from one that doesn't. Don’t settle for just survival; get out there and thrive.
Eric Groves is senior vice president of worldwide strategy and global market development at Constant Contact, a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of e-mail marketing and online survey tools. Reach Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.