With the 2010 Census still fresh in your mind, consider how customer surveys can help you run a more profitable home improvement business.
Surveying your customers used to be a huge hassle. Writing up your survey questions. Finding the right addresses to which to send them. Stuffing envelopes with stamped return envelopes. And then hoping that you get enough surveys back to make your results statistically significant.
Fortunately, you can now take advantage of a number of simple and inexpensive online services that ease the process of surveying your customers.
Why should you survey your customers? Surveys provide a quick means to assess changing consumer interests and tastes in your marketing area. They provide a way to test ideas about what new products you might offer them. You can gauge how homeowners feel about you and the products you offer, as well as those of your competition.
So, what’s involved in running an online survey? First, you’ll need your in-house e-mail list. Hopefully you’ve been capturing the e-mail addresses of your prospects as they first express interest. These days, there’s simply no excuse not to get an e-mail address from each and every homeowner that you come into contact with.
As for your survey questions, well that depends on your objective. On one hand, you might want to assess customer satisfaction with your recent installations. On another, you might wish to generate material for a possible article in your local newspaper that will get your company some publicity. Consider carefully your objective as you craft your questions.
Then take advantage of three services to get your surveys out to customers:
- SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) – Plans start at $19.95 per month for this service, which has been a staple of the online survey market for years. It’s simple and easy to use, but don’t expect robust technology here. But for your purposes, you may not need all of the bells and whistles that you can get from some of the other services.
- Zoomerang (www.zoomerang.com) – Another tried-and-true online survey tool that seems to have been around forever. It’s very popular, and also offers a limited, but free, version. It also costs a very-reasonable $199 per year. This offering is a favorite of small businesses across a variety of categories.
- Checkbox (www.checkbox.com) – While I’m not as familiar with Checkbox as I am some of the other services, this service appears to offer more features in support more-sophisticated surveys.
Checkbox also offers a capability to extract survey results pass them into your internal computer systems for further analysis. A tech guru in your organization can run wild with a tool like this, though the advanced functionality is more expensive than the other tools.
You can use these services to ask general questions of your whole audience. Or you can sync many of these services with your internal customer database, to survey each customer individually once you have completed their job.
Compared to the slow, tedious process that surveys used to require, the costs of these new tools is inconsequential. So take a moment and think about how inexpensive online technology like this could help your business.
Allow me to leave you with a humorous view of surveys at work. Check out this video of Mr. Dawson in action: