Are you always listening to your customers? You may be busy with a remodeling project or tackling a long list of things to take care of on your day’s schedule. But, do you stop and listen to the customers that are coming in your door or calling you? You should never be too busy to listen to what your customers are saying (in all forms!) to ensure that you are getting all the information you need to improve your business. From a marketing standpoint the information you gain from such conversations with your clients is invaluable. In short, they will tell you exactly what they want from you, giving you key fuel for your next marketing campaign.

Engaging Customers

The first step is to know how to interact with your client base. There are many ways to gain feedback from your clients, no matter what type of industry you are in. The following are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Focus groups – on a larger scale, this can provide you with key information about new products, energy efficiency improvements, and new methods.
  • Surveys – do you give one out to your customers after you complete a project? You should do so because it provides clear information about what your clients would like to see improve. This is what they are going to tell everyone else.
  • Email communications – Sending off an email every week you are handling a big project for the client is helpful. Communicating a few days after you complete the project is even better.
  • Observation – What do your clients really think? Look at their faces, notice their reactions, and notice the steps they take. What are they really saying to you?
  • Social media – Are you using social media to learn more about what your customers think about you?

The second step is to analyze the information you get. Yes, you’ll want to deal with any big problems as soon as possible. However, notice what clients are saying. For example, if you notice that a customer states he wished you offered more “green” services, this is an important feature to mention in your next marketing campaign.

Of course, it helps to have a professional organization by your side to help you to manage the entire process of getting and using feedback as a component of your marketing plan. The key is simply to gather information in any way and use it to improve your business over the long term.

Mark van Berkel is Founder and President of Hunch Manifest Inc. While managing business operations he also leads the team in designing semantic technology to provide personalized online presence and reputation management services. Prior to forming the company, he was consultant in enterprise software projects to companies including Panasonic, Shell, and General Electric and was an Architect for a world leading human capital management software-as-a-service. Mark holds a Bachelor of Information Systems from StFX University and did his graduate studies at University of Toronto, getting a MEng Industrial Information Engineering and an MBA, Strategy and Innovation from the Rotman School of Management. In 2006 he published a 170 page report as a researcher at the Semantic Technologies Lab at the University of Toronto and built a semantic technology prototype for SAP Research Labs. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn or Twitter. Mark is also certified in Google Analytics.