The ebbs and flows of sales in the retail world, specifically during the holidays, can keep a lot of store owners up all night. What worked once in the past might be a disaster today. This goes for both large chains, and small businesses. Recently, we’ve seen many large retailers make big moves: testing out opening doors on Thanksgiving Day, not the accepted “standard” midnight rollout on Black Friday, for example. This was met with a passionate response, and the ripples are still being felt as we enter the 2015 holiday season. Many retailers, based on the feedback of their customers (and the public overall) are bucking this trend, and remaining closed for the holiday. Others, plan to soldier on and hope their customers will work in some shopping before or after dinner…and between football games. Positve or negative, the reactions to both choices have been visceral. 

This, once again, hammers home the point that customer feedback is invaluable for businesses of all sizes. As I’ve started my own holiday shopping journey, I’ve been flooded with customer surveys focused on my satisfaction. I’ve taken all of them.  It’s clear that some companies know when and how to measure satisfaction and what questions they should be asking to get the best data so they can make better business decisions… and then some just don’t know how to phrase their questions, choose the right formats, or even approach this topic at all. 

That’s why I’ve listed these three tips to keep in mind as you reach out to your customers this holiday season:

  1. Communication is key – Reach out to your customers and let them know about promotions you’re running, when big sales are, invite them to reward member only events, etc. If they are your customer, you should be communicating with them regularly so they’re in the know. Don’t let a competitor get to them before you do.
  2. Remember what they told you before – If you’ve reached out to them for feedback in the past, use that to your advantage and tailor your communications to them. Customers will appreciate that you’re listening to them so they don’t have to tell you the same thing over and over again. Use the feedback and data you’ve gathered over the course of the year to your advantage. Happy customers will result in more loyal customers and better bottom line results for your company.
  3. Ask the right questions – As you continue to collect feedback during the holiday season, make sure you’re asking the right questions. You only have a short amount of time to grab and keep their attention, so let them know that they’re a valued customer and that you want to hear from them. Make sure your survey includes these key questions:

    Net Promoter Score – how likely are they to recommend your product to a friend?
    Overall satisfaction – how was their overall shopping experience?
    Will they return – will they be a repeat purchaser? If so, when?

Asking questions like this will help you gauge their overall satisfaction.As we head toward December and this busy time for retailers, remember these three tips. The best way to engage customers is to continuously communicate with them and ask them for their feedback. be thanful for it...all of it. Your customers are your greatest source of learning and the key to strong sales!

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