I once had a client who wanted my help in getting some customer feedback. When I asked what their motivation was, the person we were working with said (rather unenthusiastically) “The company president said we should.” Wow! How exciting! I could see we had a hill to climb in order to get anything worthwhile. So I turned their attention to some of the aspects of market feedback that they may not have considered – namely that it was a chance to engage with their market in a positive way (asking for their feedback vs. asking for their money), an opportunity to build their brand as a customer-focused one, and, of course, getting great insights about how they could be increasingly engaged with their customers. In the end, the project was a success and we were able to find some strategically relevant information they could use to run their business better and to which they could tie their marketing efforts.
We all know that asking our customers (and others in our target market) for input is important. Still for too many it still seems like a “have to do” as opposed to a “get to do”. The result? Not only will you not get the most useful information you can, but you are also missing a great opportunity to engage with those you most want to engage with. An opportunity to get great info AND build your brand…lost!
I also know we can really get caught up in making market feedback way too complicated. Or they do some things that limit the info we could be getting. So I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips for getting the most from your market feedback efforts.
1. Focus only on the most important questions
It’s so enticing to try to ask everything you can think of. After all, you have the respndent’s attention, why not squeeze as much info from them as you can? Well, because you won’t. They will tire of your questions (especially for the ones that seem irrelevant to them). They will start looking agh their watches. They will quit your survey halfway through. You know what I’m talking about…because I’ll bet you’ve done it yourself. Remember, people have limited attention spans and limited time – use it wisely.
An approach to this is to do your homework up front. Brainstorm what you believe are the most important elements in your customer/market relationship. Even better, ask some customers if they agree with these assumptions. Using their input, construct a questionnaire or script. Focus your questions on those that you think are most important – and test your assumptions by asking how important they think each one is. Then ask how you are doing on each of those dimensions.
2. Mix in something more “conversational”
With all the tools that are available online, it’s tempting to simply construct and send out a survey – and review the numerical results. I usually argue that a mix of methods is even better (especially ones that allow for discussion or conversation, or at a minimum open-ended questions). It allows you to reach further and add depth to your research. It also allows you to compare how responses might bee different across the data collection methods. Numbers are great, but they sure don’t tell a complete story.
3. Play it up
Again, turning the feedback initiative from something you are required to do or expected to do into something you truly want to do can make a ton of difference. Tell employees what’s going on. Engage them as much as possible in the process. Let employees andcustomers know how you plan to use the information you learn. Lead by example. Show enthusiasm and it will brush off on them. Highlight the importance of what you are doing.
4. Take action
It’s ALL wasted time if you don’t actually DO something with the results. Nothing tells everyone (customers and employees alike) how important this feedback is more than actually applying the results. Use feedback to make real change and everyone will sit up and take notice!
I hope some of these tips are helpful to you. I have been involved in countless market research efforts, and whenever my clients have followed these tips the results we received was much more actionable and useful.
Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let’s explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas. You can reach me at (713) 907-8429 or BCohen@IDiscoverConsulting.comI hope you are enjoying these blog posts. If so, please help spread the word. Tell others about IDiscover Consulting Group and my blog. Share these posts. Comment on them. I’d really love to hear your ideas!