Great businesses are very open to input and feedback. They seek it out through formal and informal mechanisms like:
- Quantitative Market Research (statistics-based customer satisfaction assessment; many respondents, little depth.)
- Surveys and Questionnaires
- Qualitative Market Research (insight-based customer satisfaction assessment; narrow but deep.)
- Focus Groups
- Customer Interviews
- Competitive Analysis
What's emerging now is the opportunity for companies to use Social Media as an additional customer satisfaction assessment tool, and also a way to inform innovation in products and services. Social media provides tremendous opportunities for direct interaction between a company and its customers. Many companies are using it to drive innovation. For example, Starbucks realizes that its customers know better than anyone else what they want - so they created a platform to engage customers at: http://mystarbucksidea.force.com. It’s a great website and shows a true commitment to customers – and the recognition that it’s a cost-effective innovation catalyst.
Here’s a great tool that lets you search internet forums for comments about your business: Boardtracker (link to: www.boardtracker.com). Forums, though they've been around forever, represent a huge part of the internet -- and are an area that many services, including Google, often do not search. Posts which reference your company can contain insight and information just as valuable as that from focus-groups.
One caveat – social media is a mecca for B2C companies to get feedback – its usefulness for B2B companies is still evolving. But it will only grow. How does your company use social media to track customer satisfaction?