How are those New Year’s resolutions going? We’ve reached that point in January where, for some of us, that can be a bit of a sore point. But, if your diet’s starting to drag and that gym membership is beginning to look like a bad investment, don’t despair. The year is still young and there’s no better time than January to resolve to check the bearings of your business.
This first thing to do before the year gets any older is make sure you’re up to speed with any regulatory changes that may have come into place January 1. Do you have all of the necessary certification in place? Is your equipment up to code? Are you doing all you should be to ensure the safety of your staff? Do your licences or permits need renewing?
Once that’s complete, take a step back and evaluate how things have been going over the last 12 months. What were your successes in 2018? What can you do to build on those strengths? Were there any failures last year? And if there were, what steps do you need to take to ensure that they don’t happen again?
You can go a long way towards answering those questions by taking one simple step; checking in with your customers and listening to what they tell you.
This is the perfect time of year to be setting your business goals for the 12 months to come. Are there any special projects you want (or maybe even need) to take on for 2019? Will you need to budget for extra staff for a couple of weeks in the summer or any other busy period? Is there an event coming up where you should aim to focus your advertizing dollars? Should you be setting up regular weekly or monthly conference calls with your team now so you stay on top of things?
Once again, the answers may well lie with the people who buy your products or services. You may think you already know how your customers feel, but there’s every chance you may be wrong. There’s only one way to find out for sure. Touching base with your clients can also help you understand who your customers are, why they choose to do business with you and what may be holding them back from doing more. Do you offer all the services they need in one place? Are you always open when they need you?Are there any other goods or services you can offer that would set you apart from the competition? How can you improve the customers’ experience? Should you add a live chat feature to your website? Do you need to hire more front line staff?
There are lots of tools you can use to conduct a customer survey. The one that works best for you will depend very much on the nature of your business. But in many cases the easiest and most effective is simply to call your clientele on the telephone.
In an ideal world you’d make those calls yourself. If you’re the owner or the manager your clients will appreciate the fact that you’ve personally taken the time to ask for their opinion on the way you do things. But before you pick up the phone and start dialing there are a couple of points you might want to consider.
First, if you’re going to conduct a project like this in house it’s important to recognize that there’s a significant time commitment on your part. You need to make sure you’ve set aside the time to talk, and more importantly to listen, for as long as your client is willing to stay on the phone. That’s not always easy. And it’s equally important that all of the calls are carried out within a fairly short timeframe. That’s to ensure that information from the first call is still relevant when you finish making the last.
So time and scheduling are both an issue. But more importantly perhaps is this. Your customer will be more likely to give an honest appraisal of how you’re doing if he or she is talking to an impartial third party. And there’s absolutely no point in conducting a survey if the results aren’t going to be completely accurate.
Nobody likes to hear bad news. But if someone thinks your hours are inconvenient, your staff are poorly trained or your phone too often goes unanswered, you want to know about it fast. And the best way to ensure that you do is to contract out your customer survey to an outside agency where a team of trained customer service representatives will help you get the results you need.
The rest is fairly straightforward. The people conducting your survey can help develop a set of questions appropriate to your business. You can keep it general or target specific areas that are of interest. And you can make the process as formal or informal as you like. Whatever way you choose you’ll get the information you want and the answers you need to hear. And you’ll get them quickly, efficiently and at a lower cost than you might expect. It’s a great way of taking the pulse of your clients, fine tuning your business plan and of making sure you’re on the right track for the months and years ahead.
Here’s hoping 2019 will be your best year yet!
We’re here to help you start the year off right. If you’d like to know more about this or any other service we offer at Intercon Messaging give us a call at 866-605-2558 or request a quote.