How well or how lousy does your small business meet the needs and wants of your customer?  Have you asked?  Most small business owners do not gather or take advantage of this critical information; their most valuable company asset.


Ask every customer three short questions:

  1. What do you like about doing business with us?
  2. What do you hate about doing business with us?
  3. What product or service do you wish we offered?

Leave enough space so they can tell you what they feel when answering each of the three questions.

Find several ways of gathering this information:

  • Through your website
  • At your place of business
  • On your invoices and packing slips
  • At the bottom of every email
  • Over the phone
  • Through your sales people

Make this a standard practice in your business. Your customers will appreciate the outlet and know you really care about what they want and need and that beats price every time.


Don’t ask your customer to complete a long, complicated and time consuming survey.

Don’t ask them to rate your business on a scale of 1 to 10. What the heck does that mean anyway? Every individual interprets that scale differently. You want meat and bones, not some meaningless number.

Don’t make it hard for the customer to provide this valuable feedback.

Don’t do it just once for a short period of time.

It can be painful to hear what others have to say about your organization, particularly if you take it personally.  Just remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.  Put on some armor, jump in and take a long hard look at your business through the eyes of your customer.  Making decisions with their viewpoint in mind puts you miles in front of the competition.