Customer surveys are often thought of as only a tool to measure customer satisfaction, and that's true when simply using a star system. When customer surveys are used to the fullest with thoughtful, open-ended questions, they can provide a complete assessment of your software and business operations by your own customers.
Surveys can collect data that will help your company build on its advantages, minimize disadvantages, and strategize in a way that lines up with your customers’ needs and wants. All of these things will come together to produce happier customers, which will lead to more customers retained for your company and also help your company find more of the ‘right’ customers, whose values align with your company's strengths.
Now what are some ways customer surveys can help you grow your business?
A customer survey can help your business assess your software’s performance. It will answer the question of whether or not your software meets and exceeds company benchmarks and accomplishes everything it was intended to do for your customers. If your software does not, your customers will often provide your company valuable and creative ways within the survey on how to retool your approach for the better.
Surveys can also help your company gain ideas from your customers. Often times customers are very creative in developing workarounds and toggling settings to make their own software usage easier. Possible questions to ask your customers include:
- Do you find that you have to manage a setting constantly?
- Is there a configuration you wish was included in the software?
Questions like these can help your team gather more ideas which can be turned into core settings or extra features if they prove to appeal for your customers. You can also use surveys to relay your team's own ideas to your customers to see if they are receptive to them before moving forward.
Reaching Your Target Customers
You can also use them to learn the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Look at the demographics and salaries are you attracting the buyer personas that align the best with your business model? If not, one way to rectify this is to research what websites and conferences and other places they are to gather and promote your business there.
You may also see where your approach needs to be retooled. Maybe your company is getting way more interest from Facebook and LinkedIn, but not much from Twitter, you can either determine why that is (maybe you find that Twitter users respond better to video?) or simply focus more of your efforts on the first two.
You can also determine how many customers are being brought in through your own efforts versus other channels. For example, you may discover many of your customers became familiar with your software through a blog influencer and that developing a promotional partnership with this blogger would be beneficial. Customer surveys help you identify possible opportunities like this or where your company needs to pull back, which can help your team develop more targeted marketing approaches and acquire more customers
Conveying the Value of Your Software
Surveys will also help your software company determine if the value of your software is being is connecting to your customers through product information and advertising. Value is what your software can do for your customers. Can it improve their ROI? Help them stay more organized? If there’s a disconnect in the message your customers are receiving about your software and its capabilities, that can lead to misguided expectations and disappointment.
Customer surveys allow you to create an open dialogue between you and your customers where they feel valued and will reward your company with more honest opinions about your business. Train your team to pick up on negative opinions or suggestions pertaining to quality, reliability, efficiency, or customer service and see them as an opportunity. Making a conscious effort to improve upon areas that are driving customers away will lead to higher customer retention.
In a highly competitive industry, any strength a company possesses is a selling point. Differentiation from your competitors is key factor in driving business. Customer surveys not only assure your team that your software's strengths are resonating with customers, but that your team is not overlooking what some of company's potential strengths may be. Study carefully what your customers say to praise your software or your business, particularly their word choices, and incorporate that into your marketing and sales efforts. This will help your software attract customers who also highly value those things, improving customer loyalty.
This list only scratches the surface. There are even more ways that customers surveys can help improve both your software and your business. It's more so a matter of being receptive to feedback, evaluating its worth for your company and your customers, and figuring out how to turn it into action that rewards your customers (and in turn your company) back.