Years ago, I discovered I could get paid to be a part of a market research group. I found a few in my area and signed up. Over the course of the past two years, I’ve watched political ads, tested cold medicine syrups, ate hamburgers (yes, that was fun, although after the third test, not so much…), drank nutritional drinks, and drank coffee. Along with each of those experiences, I filled out forms and engaged in discussions regarding my preferences.
Market research has been around for a long time. Major corporations spend huge amounts of money testing their products to ensure customer satisfaction. Smaller businesses can do something similar and in comparison, it will only cost pennies.
Recently, I spoke with a golf course owner and explained how I wanted to ask questions of the golfers visiting his course. These weren’t course-specific questions, but general ones. He mentioned that he found out most of what he needed to know by listening to his customers. But then he said something that completely shocked me.
“You know,” he said, “I can learn a lot from just listening to them. But then they expect something to be done about it.”
Well, yes! Of course customers hope that a business will listen to their needs and respond. Everyone knows that you can’t please everyone all the time. But businesses are smart to try to please most of their customers.
How can you do this? Ask. It’s as simple as that. Asking customers to fill out a form. Asking questions. Asking how your customer enjoyed whatever it is you’ve sold to them.
And after you’ve listened, make the changes in your business that are needed. Once your customers have entrusted to you their opinion, yes — they do hope to see some results.
One of the best things I did when I had my own coaching business years ago was give free workshops. I might have been giving information to them for free but what I received in return was so much more valuable — their input. I listened closely to their statements, their questions, their hopes and dreams. And then I incorporated those answers into products and services. I created solutions specifically for their problems.
What problems are you solving for your customer? Find out what they are by asking, and then surprise them by going above and beyond with your answer. You’ll be delighting them in no time!