Measuring Customer Satisfaction
There are several ways to gather input from customers. The simplest way to find out how customers feel and what they want is to ask them. If you have only 20 customers, you can talk to each one personally. The advantage of this approach is that you'll get a personal "feel" for each customer. The disadvantage is that you'll gather different information from each customer depending on how the conversation goes.
Customer surveys with standardized survey questions insure that you will collect the same information from everyone. Remember that few of your customers will be interested in "filling out a questionnaire". It's work for them without much reward. By launching a customer survey as an attempt to find out "how we can serve you better" -- your customers will feel less put upon.
Here are a few of the possible dimensions you could measure:
quality of service
speed of service
complaints or problems
trust in your employees
the closeness of the relationship with contacts in your firm
types of other services needed
your positioning in clients' minds
Focus groups are good ways to get informal input from a group of customers or prospects. You bring in 5-10 customers or prospects and ask them questions or have them react to material. You can pay a professional facilitator and videotape the whole session, or just lead an informal discussion yourself. In either case, you have a chance to gather ideas about customer needs, reactions to your company, suggestions for new services, and so forth. In addition to individual responses, you get ideas that develop as the group reacts to each other's responses.