PEMBROKE, Mass. — One of the best ways you can find out what the marketplace thinks of your business is to listen to your customers. They can tell what level of quality you churn out, how detail-focused your crew is, how pleasant and knowledgeable your counter staff appears, what makes patrons happy about your offering, and what upsets them.
But obtaining customer input is not always so easy. You can’t set up a panel of six customers and ask them questions. For one thing, they might not be truthful. For another, they probably wouldn’t agree to do it. Nor can you have them fill out a survey form, because most will not put too much thought into the effort. And if your staffers ask every customer their level of satisfaction, they would simply utter, “Fine.” So you must be creative, even ingenious, in obtaining marketing information from your customers.