Of the fact that the country’s is in recession is not new news. Limited resources and customers tightening belts mean it’s more important than ever to make sure your customers are happy. Although your own budgets may be shrinking, it makes sense to set aside some of your marketing budget to understand what it is your customers are getting from your products or services.
What to ask
What to ask your customers is very much hands-on what your organization is all about. If your business is providing services, market research gives you an opportunity to get formal feedback from your clients on what is about those services they find useful. There is also an opportunity to ask about the services that you don’t currently provide. If there is something that your customers would find helpful that you aren’t already providing, knowing about this will hopefully prevent your customers going elsewhere to get the services that they require.
This information is not necessarily the kind of thing that customers will volunteer. Engaging with experienced market researchers who understand how the way you phrase a question can impact on the answer that you receive can make all the difference between gaining useful information and ending up none the wiser with a group of irritated clients.
Who to ask
The natural first choice and the easiest people to reach will be the people who are using your products or services on a regular basis. Using your client database, selecting people who are using your company frequently can be a good way to open discussions with a group with whom you already have a regular dialogue. Asking this group why they keep returning to use your company can give you some good pointers on elements of your service to emphasize with other clients.
The next groups you may wish to ask are people who have not used your service for a while. Contacting them to find out whether there is anything that they would find of use from your service and if not, why not, can help you understand some of the gaps in the products or services you currently offer.
Finally, contacting former clients who have expressly ended their relationship with your company can be hugely beneficial. If you can persuade these people to talk to you, they will have a wealth of information about things that may be missing from all wrong with your service or products at the moment so you can focus your efforts on making improvements and closing the gaps.
How to ask
There are many methods for contacting individuals or organizations to seek feedback on your own performance. Telephone interviews, face to face discussions, postal surveys or online feedback forms are all ways in which you can try to seek this valuable data on the way your current products and services are perceived.
Depending on the group you are targeting, whether this is your existing frequent customers or people who have chosen to leave your service, you will want to pick a different method of eliciting the information you’re seeking.
Working with an experienced market research company, they can help you understand the best way to contact the different groups of customers and former customers from whom you would like feedback. The speed, ease of administration and response rates to different forms of research methods can be discussed in terms of your budget and the time you have available to get to the bottom of your marketing questions.
In the current financial climate, it is more important than ever to understand what your customer’s value about your products or services. It’s also important to make sure that you know why people who no longer use your services have chosen to leave. Working with a market research company can help you understand the options available to you and work out a strategy that fits within your budget.