By Shannon Sage
Customer Research Without a Survey

Spending tons of money and months conducting customer research to collect customer feedback can be too overwhelming and cost prohibitive for many companies. But still, obtaining feedback is crucial for the ongoing success and sustainability of your company. You can easily retrieve information during the normal course of your business day.

Here’s a list of areas where you can easily obtain feedback from your customers without using a stand-alone survey:

  • At the point of purchase: No time is like the present. Ask for feedback at the moment the transaction takes place. This transaction can be face-to-face, on the phone, or over live chat.  Customers may not be as honest at this point, but is you ask a question that isn’t directly related to the employee, you’re likely to get better answers.
  • Order forms and invoices: Include a comment box on you forms and a business reply envelope for your customers to send back the information.
  • Online: Add a Tell Us What You Think link (preferably in the header or footer) on every page of your website.
  • Sales reps: Set up an easy way for your reps to feed information back into your organization, such a through an internal discussion board or intranet that reps access.
  • Newsletter: If you send a newsletter, include a question or two. Newsletters can be great tools for finding our timely customer information. Instead of asking questions, consider asking about your customer’s industry or business climate. Make sure to ask only one question–two at most.
  • Telephone: Make sure that your voice mail tells customers how to give you feedback.
  • Comment cards: Include comment cards inside your shipments.
  • Support calls: Your technical and customer service reps hear tons of information from your customers. Set up a general system to collect the feedback these employees hear every day.

Consider Lexus, the luxury car manufacturer: Management requires that every employee, from the top to the bottom, interview ten customers every month. By doing so, the company creates a culture that regularly puts customer information in the hands of every employee.