Many clients won’t even tell you if they are unhappy, instead they’ll simply stop using your services. You may never find out that anything was wrong.
Loyal customers are important to your success as a freelancer. Even if a particular client no longer needs your services, you want him or her to to speak favorably about your business.
One way to keep your clients loyal is to keep them happy — but how do you find out whether your clients are happy? The only real way to find out what a customer is thinking is to ask. That’s why customer surveys can be so important.
In this post we’ll show you how customer surveys can help build loyalty, and we’ll offer a sample.
Why Customer Surveys Are Important
Surveys, if done properly, can be sort of “magic bullet” for developing good customer service. Not only can they help you identify those clients who are happy, they can also make you aware of problems and potential problems, as well as give you an idea of what new products or services would be well received.
It’s important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your freelancing business. While you may think that you have a pretty good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, do you have the client’s perspective? Without it, you can’t really be sure that you are providing good service.
Conducting a client survey also shows the clients that you care about them. Many clients will appreciate the fact that you’ve gone to the extra trouble to ask for their opinions.
Now that we’ve established the importance of using surveys, let’s look at some ways to conduct a customer survey.
Three Ways to Conduct Customer Surveys
There are at least three ways that you can conduct a good survey:
- Orally — An oral survey involves calling clients and asking specific questions. An oral survey can be used to contact all clients (particularly if you have a small client base), or just a sampling. (Make sure that you have permission to call.) With this technique, you may get answers from clients who would never otherwise take the time to fill out a survey.
- Email — A survey can also be sent to your clients through email. (Make sure that you comply with laws pertaining to email spam.) An email survey may be one of the most convenient methods of conducting a survey. However, many clients will not take the time to return an email survey.
- Anonymously — You can also conduct a survey anonymously. An anonymous survey could be mailed out to your clients or accessed through a weblink. The beauty of an anonymous survey is that clients might be more honest in their answers.
Now that we’ve discussed how to conduct a customer survey, it’s time to look at a few questions that should be included.
Fifteen Questions to Include on Your Next Customer Survey
The questions that you ask on your survey will vary depending on your specific business and your particular needs. Some sample questions include:
- How did you learn about us?
- Were you able to contact us easily?
- Have you used our services before?
- Was the work done professionally?
- Was the work turned in on time?
- Was the work done according to project specifications?
- Was the work priced according to industry standards?
- Did project communication between our company and yourself meet or exceed your expectations?
- What did you enjoy most about working with us?
- Do you have any suggestions to improve our services?
- Would you use our services again?
- Can we use you as a testimonial on our web page? (Not for anonymous surveys)
- Would you like to stay on our newsletter and/or email list?
- What additional products or services would you like for us to provide?
- Do you know of any other organizations that could use our services?
Using Results From a Customer Survey
Now that you’ve created your survey and gathered your data, it’s important to make use of that information.
The biggest mistake that some companies and organizations make is to conduct a client survey and then ignore the results.
The next biggest mistake that companies make is to panic because they have received some negative responses.
Here are four simple steps to get the most from your client survey:
- Compile the answers and study the results.
- Look at what you are doing right in your business and ensure that these good practices continue.
- Look at any problem areas that the survey identifies and take steps to correct them.
- Consider any suggestions that your clients have made.
What Do You Think?
We’ve discussed the importance of client surveys and building loyalty, and we’ve also explained how to create, conduct, and use a customer survey. Now, we’d like to hear about your experiences with surveys.
Do you use client surveys in your freelancing business? What techniques do you use? What results have you found?
Share your answers in the comments.