Build a Solid and Truly Useful Customer Survey System

Build a Solid and Truly Useful Customer Survey System - Duct Tape Marketing

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Customer surveys are the most direct way of understanding your clients’ needs and preferences. The success of your business rests in their hands. If they are not satisfied, there’s very little you can do to make your business grow. A well-designed customer survey system can provide you with the tools necessary to predict future trends, and stay ahead of the curve.

How to Encourage Feedback

The basic building block of any customer survey system is the survey itself. Often, the biggest obstacles companies face when it comes to getting direct feedback from their clients is the lack of enthusiasm when it comes to filling in questionnaires. So, when deciding to survey your customers, you need to factor this in, when you think about the number of people you have to send it to. However, there are ways you can encourage your clients to respond to your questions.

  • State the purpose of your survey. If the participants know what the ultimate goal of a survey is, they’re more likely to take the time to fill in the answers. Many customers are reluctant to participate in surveys because they don’t know exactly what to expect. Of course, you can keep the subject of your questionnaire somewhat vague, so you don’t influence your participants.
  • Describe the survey before your customers decide to take it. Without being too specific, you should give your customers an idea of what to expect from the survey. Give them a broad description of the types of questions you’re going to ask them, what they need in order to participate, and a rough estimate of how much time it’s going to take. If your customers know these things beforehand, they’re going to be much more willing to start the process.
  • Questions should be concise. Long, sprawling sentences might make them difficult to understand, and the answers will inevitably be less accurate. Short questions, that are to the point are much more likely to yield useful data.
  • Avoid unclear phrasing. If the questions are too vague, or your customer is unsure about what you’re asking them, this might make them feel frustrated, and just give up. You may end up with a lot of information that is practically useless, or you might stop getting feedback altogether.
  • Keep It Short. Even if you do have a lot of questions to ask, try to keep your questionnaire short, with no more than 30 questions. It’s better to split up a long list of questions into several surveys, then to try to fit them all on into single, long one. When it comes to likely participants are likely to give feedback versus how much time it takes to complete the survey per se, studies seem to indicate that the shorter a questionnaire is, the more probable it is the participants are going to respond to it.

Avoiding Biased Answers

The information you gather through these surveys is useful only if it paints an accurate picture of your customers’ preferences. There are many factors which can affect the way in which your clients answer a questionnaire. There are a few things you can do ensure that the data you receive truly reflects your customers’ needs.

  • Move the questions around. if the participants start noticing a pattern in your questions, they might end up answering based on that pattern, rather than really thinking about the questions. You should try to keep your questions as varied as possible, and maybe even add some that are not directly related to the ultimate goal of your survey.
  • Change phrasing. Words and phrasing can affect the way in which a person answers a question. Certain terms may have a negative, or positive connotation that isn’t strictly related to what you’re interested in, but can change the way your participant understands the question. To make sure you get a relatively objective answer, ask the same question in more than one way. Use different terms, or change the focus of the sentence.

Planning Out Your Surveys

To keep the information you gather from your clients relevant, it’s best if you conduct surveys at regular intervals. How often you question your customers regarding your business depends on a lot on the method you are going to employ.

Telephone calls are a good way to ensure you get feedback, however, they tend to feel very invasive, so you should only do phone surveys once a year.

Online surveys are more flexible. Ideally, you’ll want to send your customers a questionnaire once every 3 to 6 months for more in-depth surveys. You can always keep a customer satisfaction questionnaire on your company’s web page at all times, so your customers are always able to give feedback when they want to.

If you are interested to know how a specific product or service is doing, you can offer your clients a chance to state their opinion immediately after purchasing the product or service. These surveys should be very short, no more than a few, straightforward questions. If you get too aggressive with your surveying, your clients might be put off.

When planning out your surveys, you should be prepared for negative feedback. While it may be difficult to confront criticism, there’s a lot you can learn from it. Negative feedback can be much more valuable when it comes to satisfying your customers, and improving your business.

Maintain a Dialogue

Customer surveys are not just means of gathering information from your clients once in a while. They are a tool that can be used to generate, and maintain customer loyalty. Make sure you take the time to show your appreciation for the fact that they took the time to answer your questions.

If you do implement changes based on your customers’ feedback, inform them about it. Explain what measures you took to address their complaints, or how you developed an idea based on the things they appreciated. This will let them know that you are truly committed to their satisfaction and that their opinions are genuinely taken into consideration. It might even encourage others to take your surveys in the future as well. You and your clients need to be in a constant dialogue for your business to succeed.

Amanda WilksAmanda Wilks is a Boston University graduate and a Digital Marketing Strategist. She has a great interest in everything related to content marketing, online marketing and corporate and personal branding.

“You can’t get any closer to your customers!” Proximity Marketing system within hours

Proximity Marketing system within hours- Duct Tape MarketingMarketing is not about you selling your product but about you satisfying the needs of your customer.

This can be done in various ways but with proximity marketing, you have the advantage of providing your customer with what he wants in the right context.

A recent survey shows that 7 out of 10 smartphone owners use their smartphone before and during shopping for better purchase decisions. Business owners and marketers have taken notice of that but only very few provide shoppers with recommendations and offers during the whole shopping experience.

By the end of this post, you will know how to create your own proximity marketing solution to make your marketing campaigns even more effective.

What you need to focus on first

Location-based campaigns are all about adding real value to visitors and customers. You don’t want to flood smartphone owners with messages but to send them highly personalized notifications. For this, you need the following four essentials.

  1. Customer smartphone with Bluetooth enabled
  2. Beacon that sends signals to the mobile device
  3. Mobile app
  4. Beacon & content management system

With the broad distribution of smartphones, the first essential is usually in every pocket. However, not all buyers have turned on Bluetooth so make sure to encourage them to do so through appropriate and visual information. Don’t worry – LE stands for low energy, Bluetooth nowadays consumes much less energy than it used to.

There are two kinds of beacons, the small Bluetooth LE emitters: iBeacons according to Apple’s specification and Eddystones from Google. The iBeacon broadcasts three IDs (UUID, major and minor ID) in certain intervals and at a defined power. However, it does this in a rather clever way: a smartphone can not only receive the signal but also measure its strength. Hence, it can calculate the distance to the iBeacon. Eddystones broadcast a URL that certain mobile browsers like Google Chrome or Opera can open – at least theoretically since the technology is far from being ready for primetime.

The last key component is a mobile app. iBeacons can only work along with an app. It can send notifications to the consumer while getting into the reach of an iBeacon. A recent example for a gamification use-case of BLE beacons is Heineken.

Note: Todays customers don’t just install any app. You need to make your apps value clear in order to get it installed. Too many notifications or the inability to turn them off will result in higher uninstallation numbers.

Now that we got the basics set up, it is time to think about how to implement your own proximity marketing strategies.

Inform your app users

No one likes spam emails, right (except for this guy maybe)? The same is true for sending notifications to smartphone owners. Those notifications shouldn’t be pushed to their limits but you should focus on the circumstances and the current needs of the customer. The rule of thumb is one notification per customer (e.g. entering a supermarket). Keep the messages simple, entertaining, helpful and be a companion – not a seller.

Put together content and action

Proximity marketing depends heavily on the content you provide. The channel requires you to deliver content that is specific to time and location. Determining what your customers are looking for and how they feel during their shopping process requires a profound understanding of your brand, products or your service. Only if you precisely know who you enable to serve your customers perfectly.

Choose the right software

Running location-based campaigns consists of creating unique and engaging content, installing the hardware (e.g. rolling out the beacons) and analyzing the ROI. All those tasks demand different skills but with the right software, you can make your life easier by combining the distinct tasks into one hub.

Proximity Marketing system within hours- Duct Tape Marketing

Location-based campaigns can add value to already existing campaigns but also create customers completely new marketing approaches.

  • Product recommendations
  • In-store retargeting
  • Multi-channel analytics
  • Interactive digital signage

iBeacon technology lets you connect directly with you customer. You can recommend products that fit your customers’ needs or show them ads about the product that they have recently looked at. With access to lifetime analytics you get insights on consumer behavior and can combine mobile statistics with other metrics to improve your sales strategy. Signs are no longer static displays but come to live and deliver dynamic and interactive experiences on the sign and on the customer’s smartphone.

Proximity Marketing system within hours- Duct Tape Marketing

Conclusion

Before reading this post you might have asked yourself: What is proximity marketing? Now you should be able to identify how you can benefit from this technology and include it in your marketing plans.

Keep the aspects you have learned in this post in mind and reach your goals faster, whether it is driving sales, loyalty or brand awareness and bring your mobile marketing campaigns to the next level.

Good luck!

Christoph SchachnerChristoph Schachner is a growth hacker at the Austrian startup xamoom.com, a provider of a location cms for proximity marketing. Christoph loves anything related to marketing, EDM, and memes.

How to Be Better and Different and Why You Must

COMPETITION

Stop trying to be better than the competition and start figuring out how you can be better and different than your competition.

Many business owners or would-be start-ups sit around trying to figure out how they can be better than the competition – better product, better service, better features, and, the real killer, better price. Some even strive to be “best” in class. What they should be doing is figuring out how they can truly be different than the competition.

I’m not against lofty goals – the problem is creating a better product or service isn’t easy. Often, prospects won’t take the time to understand the subtle differences that make your product or service better, and you might spend all of your time and energy trying to educate them when all they want to know is the price. If you’ve even wondered why prospects are choosing your competitors over your obviously superior offering, you may have just a hint of appreciation for what I’m saying here.

“Better than the competition” is the enemy of “different than the competition,” and different is where the money is! Instead of trying to be better or exactly alike, build a strategy around a simple way that your company is definably different from the pack.

Analyze the competition

You can visit last week’s post here for some great tools on competitive research, and the Duct Tape Blog offers an entire section dedicated solely to competition. But here’s a simple exercise you can try to get some insight on your competitors’ strategies and where you stand in comparison:

1. Visit your top 5 competitor’s sites and read through their “About Us” pages.

2. Create a new document in Word, Excel, or Google Docs (or whatever program you use/prefer) and plug in their “About Us” page overview. Do the same for your site.

3. Now, go through each entry and delete any mentions of company names.

4. Read through descriptions and highlight some of the common themes you see throughout. I’m guessing “great customer service” and “years of experience” might be mentioned in a few of them.

5. Share it with your team or anyone that understands your business and see if they can correctly identify your description as well as the descriptions from your competitors.

This exercise alone will show you if and how you stand out, but it’s more likely to show you the sameness that exists in your industry and the opportunity you now have to create a difference.

Ask your customers

Knowing what your customers want and giving them exactly that is the best way to stand out.

Customers are the most important asset of any business. So, why not hear it directly from them? Sure, there’s always the option of sending out a mass survey, and this is a great way to get a general idea of what they want. But, if your business is more services oriented, it might be better to sit down with them or get them on the phone. Choose 10-15 of your best clients (most profitable and refer you the most) and interview them. Ask them about their experience with your company and how they think you can make it even better.

Here are some ideas for questions you can ask:

  1. Why did you choose us in the first place?
  2. Why do you stay with us?
  3. What do we do that others don’t?
  4. What could we be doing for you that we currently don’t?

Know your advantage

When asked what makes them different, a lot of companies will say, “well, we are different because we have a better product, or we offer better service.” Really, and do your competitors all suggest they offer crappy service?

We can debate the countless intricate ways that companies can use to create a strategy of difference, but it all pretty much boils down to:

  • Better product
  • Better process
  • Better relationships

In my opinion focusing all of your strategic thinking, goal setting and actions on building a better process or better relationships is the surest and simplest way to create a true competitive advantage. Would you rather lean on your 5% better product or price or on something so totally outrageous and innovative that people can’t stop talking about it?

Creating your special way to treat customers, creating an experience that’s unique, or creating a totally new and frictionless way for people to get a result is how you stand out from the pack and it’s how you create a difference that can’t be easily copied. It’s how innovation comes to small business.

Instead of spending your precious R&D time on product features, spend it on creating branded intellectual property, a distinct way of marketing, or on developing people and culture inside your organization that enables you to be seen as different.

The Benefits your Business Gains from Donating to Charity

The Benefits your Business Gains from Donating to Charity - Duct Tape Marketing

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When you donate to charity via your business, you will soon discover an array of benefits that come with the territory. There are so many reasons you should apply this tactic to your company.

Most importantly, you’ll be assisting worthy causes and helping make real change. That’s the whole purpose of doing your bit for charity, but so many business owners worry that this will then put a huge dent in their profit margin. As much as we may wish to donate and contribute to organisations, it could ruin a business that has barely taken off. Well, you can now unravel some of the brilliant benefits of being involved with charities and how it could help your business growth.

Employee Morale

What better way to rally up your team than fighting for a good cause? This is such an underrated aspect of running a business, team morale is imperative to success. It’s no good having everything else in place without this. Well, one of the fantastic pros to running a conscious business looking for change is that you will be injecting enthusiasm into your staff. Give them something worth working for.

Team Purpose- Give your staff a bigger purpose than just money-making.
Give Them a Say- Allow them an active role in picking which charities you will be involved with.
Team Building- Take part in team-building events that focus on raising money and awareness, enjoy fun-runs, events and other sponsored tasks.

You’ll be sure to expand your worker’s morale tenfold, so this is a fantastic bonus to donating. Your staff and their philosophy is the foundation, so build appropriately and everything else will follow.

Consumer Perception

When a customer arrives at your store, website, garage or office you are instantly being judged on your service and how your business generally runs. People don’t like to invest their hard-earned money in any company. When you are a charity based business or one with a giving process, then you have put into the good books right away. Contributing some of your profit shows the type of business you are and separates you from the others, this sits well with consumers.

Positive Image- You will gain credit from the customer the moment they see you are involved with charities.
Association- You will also be associated with the charities you involve yourself with.
Build Strong Customer Relationships- It will go a long way to creating a bond between your business and consumer.

There are many ways to do this, you can enjoy brand activation as they interact in polls. Customers will feel a direct effect and will be more likely to get involved in your process. Take a look at My Favourite Voucher Codes, they donate 20% of their profits to a chosen charity each month whilst saving customers money. This way consumers get a say without having to pay a penny, in fact, they actually save money.
Marketing Opportunities

You’ll be astounded as you discover how easy marketing becomes. This is one of those grey areas where some people invest more than others. It’s a department that needs a lot of care and the right tactics. This element combined with the previous one, ‘consumer perception’ will go a long way to increasing your popularity.

Self Promotion- The word will get out and your company will be shared through word of mouth.
Press Releases- You can enjoy the press, newspapers and online articles that come your way. It’s all good press for your company. Newspapers love reporting about charities.
Social Media- Your charitable endeavours can be photographed, shared and spread. This means more attention to your business and of course, a great way to spread the word on a worthy foundation.

Networking

An important part of any business! Networking is so tough and it can be hard to know where to start. When it happens naturally is when it has the biggest impact.

Common Ground- Being a charity raising business means you are likely to find an ice-breaker with something you are both interested in.
More Likely to Interact- Those elusive contacts are easier to find as they know you are standing up for a good purpose.
Passion- It is far more likely to be natural, with you both being passionate about what you are doing for charity.

Bigger Profits

When a business is doing everything right, they will reap the rewards. Everything listed before this can only help your profit margins. You can donate a percentage of your profits. There are even ways to deduct tax as you are actively being involved with foundations.

Advertising- The above points showcase how your business will be advertised without additional expense.
More Customers- Enjoying a positive perception means more willing consumers.
Strong Taskforce- Your team will be working towards the same goal.

All these elements will take you a long way towards your bigger profits. So be sure to start making positive changes and in turn embrace the positive karma sure to come your way.

Chloe ClarksonChloe Clarkson is a feature writer for My Favourite Voucher Codes, a money saving voucher code website that helps consumers save money on their online shopping while donating 20% of their profits to good causes each month at no extra cost to the consumer. Chloe has a strong interest in fundraising, ethical trading and runs her own small business during her spare time.