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Nobody really wants to hear the truth, but sometimes it is necessary in order for growth. There is no other way to find out exactly what your customers and community think of you. Often, customers know exactly what you are doing right and what areas need improvement. If you ask, most will not be afraid to tell you. Here are five simple questions that will tell you everything you need to know about your customers’ perception of your brand.

How did you hear about our business? This question will let you know what aspects of your marketing are the most effective. If most of your customers heard about you from a radio ad, you can drop the mailings, and vice versa. It’s important to concentrate your marketing dollars in areas where they are the most effective. Asking customers will give you the most reliable data in this area.

How satisfied are you with our business (provide a scale, like 1-5)? Anything less than a five is unacceptable. There is the occasional difficult-to-please customer, but most customers will give you a fair evaluation in this question. Even if you are getting three’s or four’s on average, that isn’t good enough. You should look at question five to see what you can do to bump up your customer satisfaction.

Would you or have you recommended us to another person? This is the secret to word of mouth advertising: getting customers so excited about your product that they simply cannot wait to tell another person about you. If your brand is garnering the kind of enthusiasm that would get you many ‘Yeses’ on this question, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. If not, there is always room for improvement.

What products or services would you like to see our business carry? This will give you an indication of possible avenues of growth. If there is one product that keeps popping up as an answer to this question, you will know one more potential source of profit. As a bonus, customers will think more highly of your store if they feel they can request (and actually get!) certain products.

How can we improve? This question will give customers the opportunity to explain any low scores in the other areas. Even if you received fives across the board, there is still room to improve. The closer you get to being your customer base’s ideal business, the less likely they will be to check out a competitor.

How do you ask these questions? The most obvious way is through a written questionnaire. Whether you choose to use email or snail mail (include a self addressed stamped envelope in this case!) will depend on your specific demographic.

Asking for feedback doesn’t just have potential to help you understand your customer base; it will actually increase your brand status in their eyes as well. Everyone wants to feel heard and wanted. A questionnaire lets your customers know that their opinions are valued and that you care about making their experience with you are pleasant and hassle-free as possible.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & Creative Director of Logo Design Works. Since 1998, Mash has helped thousands of businesses express their brand messages through creative and award winning logo designs.