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Customer surveys, social mining provide essential business insight

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Meeting customer demand and maintaining fresh and innovative products and services are at the nuts and bolts of what makes a business successful. In order to understand the best ways to adjust product and services offerings, small business owners must aggregate and analyze data about their operations.

According to USA Today, there are few better ways to accumulate this type of information than to mine social media posts and ask clients to partake in customer satisfaction surveys.

With social media initiatives being a must for nearly all small businesses and online surveys becoming easier to conduct, small firm owners must pounce on the opportunities to access the information they need. However, before using these resources, owners must be sure they are protected with the proper small business insurance policies, in the event social streams and survey creators become compromised by hackers.

Use online surveys to get ahead
Michael Winnike, founder of caramel business Happy Goat, told the news source he is planning to use customer surveys to help the company reach its revenue and expand into retail stores.

"It's given us access to information that we wouldn't get by other means," says Winnike. "Unless we can get our product to a price point and packaging point that can service those chains, we'll never get in those places."

Resources such as SurveyGizmo, Qualtrics and Google Consumer Surveys allow small business owners to ask customers a number of different questions for little or no costs, providing business leaders with the information they need by being proactive and seeking out that information.

"From the beginning, having a customer dialogue has been a huge part of our growth," Craig Elbert, vice president of performance marketing at Bonobos, which uses Qualtrics, told the news source.

Pay attention to social sites
While customer surveys give small business owners the opportunity to ask their clients questions, social listening tools allow them to see what customers are saying about their small business, as well as their competitors, said the news source.

By leveraging information from Twitter, Facebook, news sites, blogs and message boards, small business owners can get a real understanding of what customers are saying about their products and/or services.

"Never before have marketers been able to really know what consumers think about all of their competitors in real time," Lisa Joy Rosner, chief marketing officer of social listening tool NetBase, told the news source.

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