How to get quality feedback from your customers – without spending lots of $

Feedback is important for small businesses. You need to know what you’re doing well so you can give yourself a big pat on the back, but you also need to know what you’re not getting right so you can make positive changes to the way you do business.

Many small businesses struggle with the idea of implementing a customer feedback cycle. They think this sort of initiative is in the ‘too hard’ basket and reserved for big businesses with big budgets.

To help clear some of the misconceptions and show you how easy it is to establish ongoing connections with your customers, Good Business Consulting is pleased to bring you some expert advice from Kate Tribe, founder and Director of Tribe Research, a quantitative market and social research agency that helps organisation to grow from a better understanding of their ‘tribe’.

Step 1: Develop your own database

Everyone has a database of some form. You need to understand your database so you can easily collect feedback and utilise it to grow your business. A database can take the form of a spreadsheet or Outlook, to a more complicated CRM software.

Step 2: Code your database

Every business has different types of customers and can segment their database. Within each type of segment they will communicate with your business and benefit in similar ways. Segmenting allows you to understand elements of your business better and streamline your marketing. Some examples:

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  • Regular or occasional customers
  • Industry they are in
  • SMEs or larger businesses; Profit or not for profit
  • Location in terms of postcode, suburb, state, or country


You can also add in important dates you could use in a marketing campaign, such as sending them an annual card to congratulate them. Such as:

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Step 3: Understand the bones

You need to understand the internal functions of your business. If you find out that one type of client is really satisfied – it is useful information; but it is even more useful to understand whether those types of clients are also more of less profitable for your business. Are the most satisfied the ones that deliver you profit or not? Is there something you can do to change that?

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  • Can you calculate the quoted v actual time to do the work?
  • How much time do you invest to convert them from being a lead to a customer?


Step 4: Ask questions regularly

Ask key questions regularly so that you have the time and resources to act on the research that you’ve done. There is no point to doing feedback if you don’t act on it.

Ask questions at as many stages as possible:

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  • during the sales process
  • at the end of the transaction or sale
  • annually
  • information online
  • certain amount of time after the sale

Record the information you collect so you can analyse it and it doesn’t float away!

Example questions to ask and how to use them


  1. 1. When you think of [insert your organisations name], what are the first 3 words that come to mind?

When you collect these words, paste them into a word cloud generating tool like Refer back to your marketing collateral and check that all the positive words your customers use to describe you are also in your marketing so there isn’t a disconnect between what they’re saying and what you’re saying.

If there are negative words or words you don’t want associated with your brand, then you need to work out ways you find out why they’re being used and change perspectives so that they aren’t used anymore.


  1. 2. How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague? Where 0= not at all likely and 10= extremely likely.

This question forms the Net Promoter Score and provides you with a benchmark that you can use as a regular measure of your performance.


  1. 3. What is one key thing we could do to improve your experience?

This question will give you great ideas for development and improvement. Adopting some of the of ideas and communicating to your tribe that you’ve adopted the ideas, then you are completing a feedback cycle and generating more loyal customers.


You can download a booklet of articles and case studies about the Feedback Cycle on the Tribe Research website.

If you have any questions for Kate Tribe, or any comments/questions regarding customer feedback cycles, share them in the comments section below.


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