The Scientific Method of Gathering Customer Feedback
Customer feedback isn’t always pretty, but it can be vital to your bottom line.
Although gathering data about your business seems like a daunting task, there are proven ways to accomplish this when you have limited experience and a limited budget. One such method involves a trial and error strategy called the “science experiment” method. It involves crafting specific theories about products and services and then testing them with guests.
Note that this is vastly different from asking for general feedback. The process involves three easy-to-follow steps:
Identify what you want to know
What information do you wish you had? What insights do you need from your customers? Take some time to answer these questions.
This is important because this step defines your testing process. Some examples include information on: products and services, prices, promotions, business hours, and customer service. However, this list is not exhaustive.
Ex. Laura owns a office supplies store. She wants to know if customers would use her new delivery service.
Generate a Hypothesis
During this step, you should avoid going “all in” on any one idea. Each should be treated like a hypothesis (as the analogy goes) that has yet to be proven.
The hypothesis also needs to be specific and address your goals. It should try to anticipate how customers will react.
Ex. Laura’s hypothesis is that her current customers are willing to pay 30$ for supply delivery.
Test your Theory
This should not feel like a last step. Instead, this part is a series of actions. From here, you will gather your information. In order to gather honest feedback, you’ll want to ensure that it is coming from strangers and not friends and family. Online and paper surveys are viable tools, but simply listening to your customers (in person or on social media) can also make a difference.
Ex. Laura emails her customers a short, anonymous survey to test her pricing theory.
As you gather information, go back to step two and adjust your theories before re-testing them. This will ensure that you are not only listening but learning from customer feedback. It could mean the difference between throwing away money on unproven "theories” or improving on strategies already in place.
Source: Sergio Perez, Director of Digital Marketing at Garden Fresh Restaurants