How to Get Feedback Data You Can Use
Your customers know what they want and expect from you. They know what your brand stands for, what they expect to find in your catalog and on your Web site, and the average prices for your merchandise. They’re also savvy about the quality and level of customer satisfaction they can expect from you.
Your job, meanwhile, is to determine if you’re retaining your focus in customers’ eyes. Are you still providing the products or customer service they want? Are your copy and graphics lacking in what customers need to know before they make their purchase decisions? Do customers think your prices no longer accurately reflect their perceived value of your merchandise?
As you’ll read in this article, getting customer feedback is the first step to understanding what it takes to retain buyers. Once you have that knowledge, you’ll then need to understand what the data mean, and then translate the information into actionable steps that can make a difference in your business.
Next, you’ll want to repeat your research on an annual or biannual basis to monitor customers’ expectations, attitudes, and perceptions of your catalog and your offerings. In this way, you can detect changes in customer needs and attitudes early enough to divert major retention problems later on.
Merchants tell us their typical research objectives for client retention include the following:
1. Determine merchandise selection, new product categories and unique products found only in their catalogs or on their Web sites.
2. Look at their catalogs amid their competition. Discuss with staff members the pros and cons of product layout, copy and photography to determine if the catalog accurately reflects what customers say they expect to receive.
Three Research Methodologies
1. Focus groups are the most widely used form of qualitative research today. They allow you to probe specific areas of interest through face-to-face customer feedback. A focus group also is a good way to get reactions to your creative concepts. It allows you to hear directly from your customers in their own words about what’s important to them and what’s not.