In an age where customers have unprecedented access to their favorite stores, businesses and organizations through social media, small companies and consultancies may struggle to find a practical way to gauge customer feedback through online channels. When it comes to online engagement over social media, the difficulty for smaller businesses is typically an issue of time. Small businesses and non-profits often do not have the resources to dedicate to maintaining an aggressive online marketing campaign across multiple social media sites. If those organizations already lack time to engage customers via social media, how can they possibly determine the mood and concerns of their customers?
To address that question – how do small businesses or charities gage customer concerns? – I’ve shared a few ideas below.
What are the industry bloggers saying?
Professional bloggers make a habit of keeping an ear to the ground to the concerns of industry leaders and customers alike. Subscribing to the RSS feeds of the key bloggers in an industry can be a quick way to get a handle on the pulse of the market.
What’s the buzz on Twitter?
Connecting with customers on Twitter, either through the company’s Twitter account or our own personal account, can be an efficient way to monitor customers’ focus, news or complaints. Scanning through our Twitter feed once or twice a day – even if it’s only before and after the business day – can be enough to give ourselves some insight into our customers’ wants.
Drop an email or two
Most people like to offer their two cents when given an opportunity to do so. Take the time to send a personal email to a few customers to ask for feedback about a new service, campaign or other offering. Be specific when posing questions. The responses that come back could provide the insight that we’ve been after.
Invite your customers out for coffee
Let’s not forget the value of a face-to-face measurement. Take a couple of your customers out for a coffee or beer once or twice a month. It’s less time-consuming than running a social media campaign, and while less comprehensive than a broad survey, can offer real insight into your customers worries and needs.