A business is only successful when it can deliver a product or service in a manner that nobody else can. What’s more is that it’s arguably only as successful as its customers are satisfied. With this in mind, you should routinely take steps to ensure that your customers are happy — and if they’re not, you should work on developing strategies for improvement. After all, without a solid customer base, your company will struggle to stay afloat.

The solution is to regularly collect customer feedback. This can be done in person, on the phone, in an email campaign, through a website form — whatever method will make it easy for you to seek feedback and for your customers to provide it. Don’t be too proud to realize that you can always make your business better – and what better group to help you improve than the customers who have already purchased from you?

Of course, if you’re going to take the time to solicit feedback, it’s important to ask questions that will elicit thoughtful responses. This will give you the opportunity to take the feedback to heart and bolster your business offerings. In this article, we’ll cover some of the key questions you should ask when collecting customer feedback.

1. How likely are you to recommend our service/product to a friend? Please explain.

Ideally, you want to create “cheerleader customers.” These are people who don’t just return to shop with you time and time again, but who will also literally sing your company’s praises to their friends, family members and anyone else who will listen. And let’s face it, is there a greater endorsement for a business than a personal recommendation? That’s why this is always a great question to ask because it gauges just how satisfied your consumers really are. And if they’re not completely satisfied, this question gives them an outlet to suggest improvements.

2. What are some of the key reasons why you chose us over another company?

Whether you’re selling candles or offering plumbing services, every business has competition. That’s why all companies should strive to establish some sort of competitive advantage over other players in the industry. However, what a company thinks is their competitive advantage may not be the reason a particular customer chooses them over other available options. As a result, asking this question is important because it gives you the opportunity to verify or revisit what makes you stand out amongst similar businesses.

3. Was it easy for you to find everything you were looking for?

Everybody is busy these days, so you want to ensure that you’re not making it more difficult than necessary for your customers to find what they need. This applies to both physical retail stores and business who sell products or services online. Customers who must spend extensive time browsing your aisles or your website to make a purchase are likely to grow frustrated. And frustrated customers aren’t likely to come back and shop with you again. Check in with your clientele regularly to make sure the experience of buying from you is as streamlined and effortless as possible.

4. Were you satisfied with your last experience buying from us?

Simply receiving a “yes” or “no” response to this question is valuable information. But if the customer provides more detail, that’s even better – especially if they say you exceeded their expectations or massively failed to meet them. Pay attention to patterns in the positive and negative responses. Did the satisfied customers receive exemplary customer service? Are the dissatisfied customers seeking a product that is frequently out of stock? If you don’t keep your customers happy, your business is going to struggle, so try to identify what you’re doing right and what you need to change.

5. Is there anything that you would change about buying from us?

It’s always a good idea to include a few open-ended questions in a customer feedback survey. These questions give customers a chance to describe their pain points in detail or offer suggestions that you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s a good bet that many customers will leave a question like this blank. But those who do fill it out can provide you with some extremely valuable feedback that you can use to take your company to the next level.

6. If you visited our website, how would you describe your experience? Was the website easy to navigate?

Every business should have some sort of an online presence. But as more and more businesses move online, customers’ standards for website design are increasing. From a brand-building perspective, you want to delight your customers by creating a website that is clean, modern, and visually appealing. It’s also essential to make sure that your website is easy to navigate so it doesn’t leave customers frustrated. As mentioned earlier, frustrated customers rarely turn into repeat customers. Seek feedback to ensure that your website isn’t driving customers away before they’ve had a chance to see what you offer.

7. How did you originally find out about our company?

This is a nice question to ask for a few reasons. For starters, it lets you know whether there’s word of mouth buzz out there about your business. Secondly, it can help to validate whether certain advertising or marketing plans are working, which helps you focus your efforts on the areas where you’re generating the most leads. For example, if you’ve been investing in paid social ads but most customers say they learned about you from print ads in an industry-specific publication, you may want to reinvest your social media budget into more print marketing campaigns in the future.

8. Is there anything we can do to make the customer experience better? If so, please explain.

Again, you likely won’t get every customer to answer this type of open-ended question. But those who do respond can provide you with some of the best information about how your business is perceived. Additionally, a general question such as this gives customers the opportunity to discuss something that you didn’t ask directly about in a previous question. You should always try to give your customers the chance to say more.

Conclusion

It’s estimated that over 60 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that seeks and values their opinion. This is why implementing a feedback program should be a key part of your customer relationship management strategy. And once you’ve gathered this customer feedback, it’s important to keep it organized so you can find it when you need it. An online CRM system is a great tool to help you track customers’ responses, follow up on their concerns, and deliver the high level of service that distinguishes you from your competition.

So how do you think customers view your business? There’s no time like the present to solicit and incorporate feedback into your customer management activities. Just make sure you’re asking the right questions.