Get Customer Feedback on Your Business Plan - dummies

Get Customer Feedback on Your Business Plan

By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck

Businesses have traditionally used customer surveys to gauge how well they’re doing with their business plan. Today, the Internet has made surveys easier than ever. For instance, many airlines now send out an email survey after a trip is completed, asking passengers for feedback on everything from food quality to friendliness of service.

But old-fashioned ways of polling customers still hold sway. Many restaurants and hotels leave customer satisfaction surveys with the check.

Customer feedback can be one of the best measures of performance — and an effective way of checking to see if your plan is on track. In fact, your plan is a good place to start when crafting the appropriate questions to ask customers. In our experience, we’ve found that three parts of the plan are likely to yield useful questions:

  • Your mission and vision statement: Ask customers if you’re living up to the overarching mission and vision you set for yourself. If not, ask customers how can you do better.

  • Your goals and objectives: Focus on customer-specific goals and objectives. Use your customer survey to gauge if you’re achieving the things you set out to accomplish. Again, if your customers say you’re falling short, ask them what you can do to improve your performance.

  • Your marketing plan: No one can give you more insight into the success of your marketing plan than your customers. Ask them how they first heard about you. Ask them whether the image conveyed in your marketing efforts matches their experience.

After you craft your customer survey, test it by asking a few people to complete the form. That way, you can make sure the questions make sense and yield the kind of information you’re looking for. Distribute the survey to as many customers as possible.

You may consider giving a small incentive to nudge people to take the time to fill it in, such as a discount on their next transaction with you or a chance to win a raffle. You can then compile the information from the survey and use it to guide you as you revisit your plan.