Ask Your Customers What They Think!

It’s a simple, but powerful question. When was the last time you engaged your customer base to understand their shopping and purchase experiences with your product or service? How they are being treated by customer service? How do they rank your product’s features and attributes? What services or “extras” are most important to your core customers? What’s least important? In short, when was the last time you measured your brand?

Powerful insights can come from closely aligning your company with your customers, specifically your best customers, through brand measurement. This can be as formal as an independent brand review and customer survey or as informal as customer lunches with management to hear feedback first hand.

Here are five practical ideas:

  • Connect with Customers to Sustain: Talking with your best customers regularly is a great way to read the market and adapt your business accordingly. It’s common sense, but when was the last time you formally surveyed your client base?
  • Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Take off your business hat and step through your company’s shopping and purchase process. Whether your business is a retailer, e-tailer  or B2B, take the time to experience the “purchase funnel” from prospect to closed sale.
  • Socialize: Perhaps the most underrated benefit of social media is the ability to use this channel for customer service. 25% of internet traffic today is through Facebook. If your customers are on social media, use this to your advantage and meet them there handle customer service issues.
  • Survey Your Brand: Iconic brands like Coke, Apple, GE and others make it a priority to continuously measure key brand metrics through market research. Treat your brand with the same respect and importance. The good news is that it’s NOT expensive to conduct a brand survey. Focus groups, online surveys and opinion polls can be conducted at very reasonable costs thanks to the internet and digital technology. Some important brand questions to consider:
    • Where do your clients rank your brand relative to the competition (versus where YOU rank your brand)?
    • What positive factors do your customers associate with your brand?
    • What’s the “gut feeling” customers have about your brand? (again it’s NOT about how you feel about your brand, it’s about how your CUSTOMERS feel)
    • What are the salient associations with your logo, color scheme, slogan, etc.?
  • Measure Your Advertising Effectiveness: You spend money on advertising. But what works and what doesn’t? Every advertising sales rep will show you charts and data to prove their media works, but the real question is “What works for your customers?” In other words, what do your customers respond most favorably to, and how do they like to be communicated with? Just ask them, they will gladly tell you!

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