Questions You Should Ask Your Customers Right Now

By Janine Popick – Thu, 03/25/2010 – 10:30am.

You know who really likes you? Your customers! That’s why they buy things from you instead of from your competitors. But why do they like you and what exactly is it that they like? What don’t they like? Who are your customers exactly, so that you can find more people like them?

Do you know the answers to all these questions? There might be a good chance you don’t. But you need to know the answers, because knowing what your customers think and who they are can help you focus on the right areas that can help your business grow.

If you don’t know these answers, don’t worry, because there’s an easy way to get them. Ask your customers directly, using a survey tool. There are several low cost survey tools on the market for small businesses, and many of them have the option to build a survey from scratch or with a pre-made template.

Once you have chosen who you will use for surveys, we have come up with the top six questions you should ask your customers today.

QUESTION 1. “How old are you?”

This is a fairly obvious question, but knowing the answer gives you an excellent view into how you should approach your business and marketing. Do you want to make changes and try to reach a more balanced age range? Do you want to focus on a specific age group that appears to already be more interested in your business?

For this survey question, you could offer options such as:

• 16-20
• 21-27
• 28-35
• 36-42
• 43-50
• 50-60
• 60-70
• 80+

QUESTION 2. “When was the last time you made a purchase from our store?”

Knowing who your recent customers are versus your not-recent customers and non-customers is very useful. Non-customers would probably be more likely to respond to different messaging than recent customers, so you could use this info to split your list into separate groups and try different kinds of emails/offers with each.

For this survey question, you could offer options such as:

• In the Last Month
• 3-6 months
• 6 months or more

QUESTION 3. “On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being best and 1 being worst, how do you rate us in the following areas?”

The answer to this question will allow you to improve on your weak points and continue to focus on your strong ones.

For this survey question, you could offer options such as:

• Prices
• Location / Convenience
• Customer Service
• Products

QUESTION 4. “What kind of special offers most interest you?”

You should have your own special offers to list out here (maybe even with specific services or products). Knowing what most interests your customers tells you where to focus your efforts. You could even split people up into lists based on their answers and send them the kind of offers they prefer.

For this survey question, you could offer options such as:

• Buy One Get One Free
• Sales
• Free Shipping
• Loyalty Programs
• Refer-a-Friend/Family Member Discount
• Other: ____________

QUESTION 5. “How often do you prefer to receive our emails?”

This could both help you determine how often you should send email in the future and see if people currently find your email messages valuable. If the majority of your recipients want to hear from you less than once a month, then you probably need to make some changes.

For this survey question, you could offer options such as:

• Twice a Week
• Once a Week
• Twice a Month
• Once a Month
• Less than Once a Month

QUESTION 6. “Have you made a purchase from any of these companies this year?”

Though you’ll probably not be interested in asking specifically about any of the companies listed above, you should ask about your competitors. This can help you figure out who you’re competing against so you can more easily differentiate yourself and even learn from what they’re doing (you should always know your competitors and keep up with them). You could even ask why they purchased from the competition to get a little more insight

For this survey question, you should offer options that focus on the following groups:

• Your direct competitors
• Companies in related industries that may be selling similar products and services
• Online websites such as EBay and that sell your products

Consider ending your survey with a free-form question.

OPTIONAL QUESTION: “If you could change one thing about our business, what would it be?”

Provide a free response question so respondents can tell you exactly what they think without being restricted to the answers you’ve provided. It’s a great way to get ideas and hear exactly what your customers are thinking.

What’s Next?

The last thing to consider? Once you have sent this survey to your customers, make sure you thoroughly review their answers to determine if you should change your product features, special offers or customer service efforts. You customers are a great source of insight for your future success!

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