customers.jpgCustomer support may be the key to successful business, but it’s not just in how you help your customers. Their feedback can help your business too.

Most business owners spend considerable time and effort analyzing a range of sales and analytical data trying to figure out what their customers really want. Analytics can point out trends in what products are selling or what times of year sales spike, but they can't always tell you what your customers are thinking.

The most effective way to gauge how your business is doing is to gather their feedback directly. The response you get can be ideal for measuring customer satisfaction with your products and your service. You also have the opportunity to use customer feedback to improve your existing business practices, streamline sales processes, improve your customer's experience and make informed decisions about your product selections.

Here are some ways your customer support team might try to encourage your customers to leave feedback about your business:

Surveys

Surveys give you a quick and easy way to gather feedback. You have the opportunity to ask the questions you want answered, and you can offer customers the opportunity to leave any other comments they feel might be valid.

Create online surveys that link directly to your website or an email or print out forms for customers to fill in and drop in a box on site.

Feedback Forms

One of the simplest ways to get customer feedback is to ask for it directly. Create a structured process for your customers to provide any comments or information they want to share with you.

Referrals

One of the biggest forms of positive feedback your business can receive is a direct referral from a customer. Direct your customer support team to ask each new customer how they learned about your business. Then take the time to thank the referring customer with a small token of your appreciation.

Social Media

Many people will use social media sites to leave a quick comment about your products or service — both positive and negative. Stay on top of your posts and respond quickly. Even if the customer has a complaint, the more information you can glean from a social media interaction, the more you can use to improve moving forward. Speaking of …

Listen to Complaints

Most people dread dealing with customer complaints and unsatisfied customers. However, when you view every complaint as an opportunity to improve your business, it becomes easier to find ways to diffuse the situation and put the information you learn to good use at the same time. Customer complaints are extremely valuable forms of feedback. They let you know where your sales process is failing and what issues customers face when using your products.

Whether positive of negative, take the information you learn from your customers and use it to your advantage to strengthen your processes and products. Your customers are your biggest asset.