Posts Tagged ‘Surveys’


Nextiva Tuesday Tip: How to Hold an Online Focus Group

Stocksy_txp14c2a2052O6000_Small_64388 (1)Holding a focus group is a great way to learn what your target customers want from your business. Until recently, however, focus groups required physically getting representatives of your target market into a location; rewarding them with money, free gifts, food or some combination of all three; and organizing and recording the focus group session. This could be an expensive, stressful hassle for small business owners.

Now there’s a better way: You can simply go online to host a virtual “focus group” using survey tools and social media. While it may not be as in-depth as a real-world focus group, because you’ll be able to incorporate more people’s opinions, you will actually get a better feel for what your target customers think.

Here are some tips for making online focus groups work.

  1. Be specific. Online focus groups work best when they cast a wide net over a narrow subject, so it’s important to narrow down exactly what you want to find out. For example, if you sell women’s clothing online and you’re considering opening a physical store, you could ask whether customers would drive to a physical store, what local area would be preferred and what days and hours they would be likely to shop.
  2. Keep it simple. Customers get bored and tired if your online survey goes on too long. You can break your survey down and ask one or two quick questions a day right on social media. For example, use polling apps to set up a poll with radio button options on Facebook, or tweet out a question for users to answer. Even if you are conducting a longer survey, it’s best if you ensure it can be answered in just a few minutes.
  3. Provide room for expression. Radio buttons are an easy way to conduct online surveys, but make sure you leave a blank form at the end of the survey where users can add detailed comments or opinions. This can provide valuable insights into what customers want (or don’t want) from your business.
  4. Pay ‘em back. You may not need to order in pizza for customers of your virtual focus group, but you should reward them for their time if they take a survey longer than one or two questions. A good way to motivate users without going broke is to enter all survey respondents in a drawing to win a free product or other prize from your business. You could also offer a discount such as a code good for $5 off their next purchase.
  5. Use technology. Survey tools such as SurveyMonkey, Create Survey and QuestionPro let you create surveys in a variety of formats, then use analytics tools to dig into the results.
  6. Follow up. Ask survey respondents to share their contact information with you if they are comfortable having you follow up with more questions. This enables you to probe deeper into customers’ interests, wants and concerns, just as you would in a real-life focus group. 

Nextiva Tuesday Tip: 3 Ways to Make Your Customers Feel Special in 2014

During the holidays our thoughts turn to celebration—acknowledging our friends, families and all those who make our lives special. For small business owners, that includes your customers. How can you celebrate your customers in 2014? Here are three ideas.

  1. Find out what they think. Make it a point to “check in” with your customers at the beginning of the year and find out what they think of your service. What do they love about your business, and what do they hate? What did you do right this year, and where can you stand to improve? If you’re a B2B business, make appointments to meet with your customers in person. Taking them out for lunch will make them feel special. If you’re a B2C business, you can find out what your customers think by using online surveys, surveying them on social media or sending surveys by email. (Just be sure to keep the surveys short for best results.) Once you know what customers want from you, you’ll have ideas for how to improve your service (and how to sell them more of what they want).
  2. Share your customers’ stories. Give your customers their moment in the sun by featuring them on your website or social media accounts, in case studies or in testimonials in your marketing materials. You could ask customers to post photos or videos of themselves using your product or service on your social media pages or on your website; interview top customers and feature their stories (with photos) on your website or blog; videotape your customers’ testimonials talking about how your product or service helped them…you get the idea.
  3. Honor a “customer of the month.” Many small businesses have employees of the month—so why not name a customer of the month? Feature the person in your email newsletter, on your website and on social media. Put a big photo of them in your office or store. Give them a prize such as a free or discounted product or service. At the end of the year, host a special luncheon for that year’s customers of the month. 

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Nextiva Tuesday Tip: Want to Know What Your Customers Think? Just Ask!

Want to improve your customer service? There’s an easy way to do that—just ask. Don’t be shy or afraid—your customers want to share what they think about your products, your business and your service with you. If you think surveying your customers is a hassle, think again. Here are four simple options for conducting customer surveys.

  1. Calling all customers: You can do customer surveys over the phone using in-house staff or, if you don’t have the manpower, hiring a telemarketing firm to help. Create a script for callers to follow and have them call customers to ask survey questions. Or, keep it really simple by setting reminders (you can do that in your CRM system) to call customers shortly after delivering your product or service to ask, “Hi, I’m just following up on [X product you bought from us]. I wanted to make sure everything was handled to your satisfaction. Were there any issues?”
  2. Get social: Social media is a quick and easy way to conduct customer surveys (although these won’t be very detailed). You can post or tweet questions or polls, or ask customers what they think and get a discussion going. Facebook and Twitter are great for quick surveys, such as finding out what kind of drink special would drive the most traffic to your restaurant this weekend. You can also use social media to drive customers to more detailed online surveys you create (see tip 3).
  3. Go online: There are several companies that offer free or low-cost survey tools you can use to develop online surveys. SurveyMonkey, Snap Surveys and SurveyGizmo are three to check out. Keep in mind, if a large percentage of your customers aren’t comfortable online, this might not be the best option for you.
  4. Paper surveys: Of course, the old-fashioned paper method of surveys still works, too. Consider placing comment cards at checkout or including them when you give restaurant customers the check. If you mail invoices to clients, you can include a longer survey with the invoice (consider offering an incentive, such as a certain percentage or dollar amount off next month’s bill for completing the survey).

Whichever type of survey you choose, remember to keep it short and focused. Customers have short attention spans, so the more quickly you can get their opinions, the more likely they are to share them.  

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How to Survey Your Customers Without Annoying Them

Surveys can be tremendously helpful to small business owners when testing out a new product or getting a general read on service effectiveness. But on the flipside, they can also make customers feel a little badgered.

Here are a few tips for how business owners can send out surveys in a non-annoying fashion.

Do it quickly

Don’t wait to send out a survey to your customers; every day lost increases memory lost of their experience.

“You don’t want to wait a month after they did business with you before you contact them,” says Barbara Burke, a customer service expert, author and speaker based in Minnesota.

It is best to capture the temperature of the customer’s experience immediately—even as it is happening. This can be easy for boutique shop owners, for example, where they may have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with their client base. For online businesses or those that serve too many customers to capture one-on-one, try sending out a survey within 48 hours of a transaction.

Make it easy

There are several ways to make the act of filling out a survey easy on your customer. One is to use a program like Survey Monkey, advises Burke.

“Survey Monkey allows you to use one of many templates and just enter in your customized questions,” she says. “I recommend sending your customer a thank you email for their business and then including a link to the survey in that email. It will make it much easier for them to comply if they aren’t opening multiple messages.”

Also, make it short—no more than five questions. 

Space them out

Be careful not to send surveys too often. Customers should feel like the survey is important; overkill can lessen that concept. Burke recommends sending them out only on occasion.

“Do an annual survey or maybe a six month survey,” she suggests. “If you have a big client, there is nothing wrong with the owner of a company calling up that client to ask them a few questions more often, but just don’t inundate them on a weekly basis.” 

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