In the early 1920’s Henry Ford launched his assembly-line produced Model T. The car was relatively inexpensive, yet of good quality for the time. In order to reach production goals, the company decided to offer only one color of the car—black. “You could have any color you wanted, as long as it was black”, the saying went. With this strategy, Ford quickly dominated the market, capturing up to 57% of the car market at its height. It was a brilliant initial strategy, but Ford eventually faltered. He simply forgot to listen to his customers that were asking for additional color options. General Motors saw this trend, and capitalized on it, producing cars in a multitude of color options and quickly taking back much of the Ford market share gains. With all the innovative ideas, industry-changing processes, and brilliant strategies Ford came up with, he forgot the most basic principle—the business owner rarely knows better than his or her customers.
Reviewing the Results
Once you have the results, the next and very important step is to review them. If you have more than a few dozen responses, I would recommend creating a Feedback Summary Document that categorizes each reported method for improvement and tabulates the number of times a similar request comes up. At the end of this process, you’ll be able to get a very good idea of why your clients like your product or service and what they feel can be done to improve it, probably the two most important pieces of information you can have as a business owner. With this information you can create an improved roadmap for your product that will allow you to stay competitive and provide the product that your customers want.
In addition to being able to create this improved roadmap, you’ll also likely have a number of very good testimonials or case study material that you can use from the answers to the “what do you like” and “how do you use it” questions. As an example, my company Broadwick has collected and published a number of case studies and customer testimonials that have come from past client surveys at [http://www.intellicontact.com/casestudies/]