How To Know What Your Customers Feel About Your Brand


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If you love the outdoors, chances are you own a pair of Timberland shoes. The iconic shoe brand has been among the most well recognized and loved outdoor gears. Despite this, for more than half a decade, the sale of Timberland shoes did not register much growth. Between 2006 and 2012, Timberland lost a lot of market share to rivals and fell flat even in the United States, where the brand was born. But in 2012, Timberland marked a turnaround and has been posting double-digit growth rate in multiple quarters since then. How did that happen?

Focus On Customer Data

The company put renewed focus on consumer data and shaped their product and business strategies solely around what customer data told them. Timberland hired a survey agency to talk to nearly 18,000 people across eight countries to get their perception of the Timberland brand and draw a sketch of what their ideal customer looked like and wanted. The result was Timberland turned around to become what their target customers wanted them to be.

Timberland’s story has a lesson for all businesses – what business owners think of their brand is different from what your most loyal customers. It is important to listen to your customers to understand what they need and subsequently bridge the gap. The effect of not doing this may not be truly visible immediately. But in the absence of a customer feedback mechanism, the gap between your brand perception and that of your loyal customers keeps widening until it starts hurting your sales.

How To Know The Pulse Of Your Customer

Customer feedback

So how do you stay in touch with the pulse of your customers? Through surveys of course. But they do not all have to be a one-time project. Instead, businesses need to make customer feedback a part of their sales cycle. Understanding what brought the customer to your store, why they picked the item that they did, did the product achieved its purpose are all questions that need answers on a continual basis.

One way to do it is through online forms. Even if you are a small business without a website, it’s easy to set one up using online website maker tools in a couple of hours. You can promote this website on the product package so that customers who purchase from you can share their experiences with you online. Alternately, if you already have a customer service desk, you can make use of them to call your customers up for feedback. Just 10 such calls in a day can add up to nearly 3500 customers over a year – that’s a significantly large sample to base your strategies on. Alternately, depending on your industry, you could also personally connect with your clients over email and understand their perspective of your brand.

Best Practices

There are a few best practices while preparing a feedback survey – first and foremost, understand the purpose of the survey. Is this to map your customers’ perception of your brand? Is it to find the right price point? Once done, focus your questions solely to get feedback to answer these questions. A lot of surveys attempt to ‘warm up’ the customers with questions that do not serve any purpose – that’s a no-no.

Secondly, do not get too specific. Asking a customer ‘Will you buy a $150 boot for hiking’ answers nothing really – instead, asking the customer to describe the ideal product, if price is a factor in purchasing a lifestyle product, etc. will get you more unstructured, yet quality information that will be more useful in building your product and business roadmap.

Customer feedback is essential. Make it a vow for the new year to know what your customers want.

Image courtesy: Avius Insight


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