Five Tips for Using Surveys to Retain Clients

Do you know how loyal each print buyer is to your business? Do you have an early warning system that lets you know when a customer is looking around? Or, do you just have a gut feeling that you are doing great? That is a dangerous assumption.

Things change fast. Don’t wake up and find you’ve lost a customer. Here are five things you may want to consider in setting up an effective process for getting feedback from print buyers.

1) Make it painless for both you and the customer.

Think short, timely, to-the-point and easy-to-take surveys. Print buyers will reply to five or six questions and no more. Online surveys take 30 seconds, if designed right.

2) Leverage your estimating and production software.

Contact and invoice information is all there in your business system. Use it for timely feedback in real time. It should take less than a minute to retrieve buyer e-mails.

3) Make it a process, not an event.

Survey clients close to the time when jobs are delivered, but don’t over survey. Survey new and sporadic buying customers within 30 days of an order; repeat customers should be surveyed no more than every 90 days. Too much of a good thing kills response rates and relationships.

You can ask one marketing question, but no more. Ask what clients buy from other printers. They will tell you, and then you can expand client share.

4) Shoot for a 25- to 30-percent response rate.

If the survey is done right, you will hit that result. Monitor response rates, product and service quality and buyer loyalty. Review the information gathered in team meetings. [Note: The average printer achieves 82 percent loyalty; the best managed printers score better than a 90 percent loyalty rating.]

5) Do something with the customer data you gather.

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
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