By Susan Chive

You may think that your business treats your customers well and that they are happy with the service that you give to them. Most of them probably are, but it can only be a good thing if you are able to get feedback from your customers and use this information to improve the experience that your customers receive.

There are a number of different ways that you can get in touch with your customers to find out what they really think about the experience they have had while dealing with your business. Surveys can be sent out by post or email where customers are asked to give their feedback about the service they have received from your business. You could also employ a market research company to call your customers and ask them the same questions that were in the written surveys.

Different businesses will have different needs in the ways that they connect with their customers and this will need to be reflected in the market research methods that are used. This will also relate to the information that you hold on file about your customers. For example, if your customers buy your products from you online then you are likely to have more contact details about them than a business whose customers visit a physical store to make a purchase. When you are deciding what methods to use you will have to decide whether you need to gather any more information about your customers in addition to the information that you already hold.

You will also need to decide what areas of customer service you will want the market research to cover. If there are already things that you feel you may be able to improve upon you may want to concentrate on these areas to see if your customers feel the same way. You may want to see how your business is performing in a number of different areas and if this is the case then you will want to ask a wide range of questions and be less specific.

Once you have the results of this market research then you will need to decide how you are going to use this information to improve the service that you provide to your customers. If there is an issue that has been mentioned by a number of customers as being something that they were not happy with then this should be addressed immediately. There may also be various other things that people have identified as slight weaknesses. If this is the case then you may need to develop a strategy to improve on these issues. This may involve prioritising which issues will be addressed first and deciding what action will be taken.

Ensuring that your existing customers return to you is just as important as attracting new ones. Market research into customer experience by Marketing Services can help you find out whether you are offering the type of service that is likely to see customers returning. If a customer has had a bad experience with your business then they may make a complaint and bring to your attention the things that have gone wrong. However, there are also likely to be customers that have been very pleased with the service that they have received and carrying out market research can help you to discover this.

Susan Chive is former Professional Editor of Business Owner Magazine, where she worked for over 6 years. As business owner, Susan savvy marketing mind helped develop custom publications, online content and other outsourcing article products for B-to-B marketers seeking to reach small-business owners. Along the way, she has learned a lot about everything from publishing, design, outsourcing and project management. @SusanChive.