question mark tshirt The One Question You Should Ask All of Your CustomersI was meeting with a prospective client the other day, and while I was waiting, I noticed the intake form that they had all customers fill out. It was your typical form asking for name, address, and other pertinent information.

But there was one thing on the form I was looking for that wasn’t there. In fact, it seemed sort of glaring by its omission. My feeling is that if you’re going to ask people to fill out a form, take the time to ask them the one question that can be really helpful as you move forward in you relationship with them, as well as help you with your future marketing plans. It’s also the question that can provide you with some very real information about your existing marketing efforts and whether you are getting a decent return on investment. It’s also a question that can help you to provide better customer service.

So what’s the question you should be asking all of your customers?

“How did you find out about us?”

If someone is coming to your store or business, don’t you want to know what brought them there? You should.

And if you’re already asking them questions, why not ask them this simple one.

If you’re not asking preliminary questions, maybe you can start, or you can make this question, or some variation of it, at the checkout. Make it a part of the process.

We’ve all been to cash registers where the attendant asks us if we want to contribute a dollar to some cause, if we want paper or plastic, what our zip code is, or perhaps if we found everything we were looking for.

Why not spend some time asking them how they discovered you.

Was it your yellow pages listing or the ad you put in the paper? Was it your presence on Facebook or the recommendation of a friend? Perhaps it was a simple Google search or they just drive by every day and decided to stop in.

You can even use your new customer form to prompt responses, offering several ways they might have heard of you.

Regardless, this is important information to have.

“How did you find out about us?”

This information can let you know what aspects of your marketing campaign are working better than others. It might show you new untapped areas for marketing and communication. It might let you know that you’re spending your money in the wrong areas. It might help you understand what your current customers think, and are saying, about you.

It’s a simple question.

“How did you find out about us?”

And you can modify it. Perhaps you prefer,

“Where did you hear about us?”

or some other variation.

From there, once you have an answer, you can follow up with more questions, asking specifics. Have they ever seen your commercials? Have you liked our Facebook page? Did you know we have a blog?

That first question provides a lot of important information, and the follow ups will not only give context to that answer, but also inform both you and the customer.

Are you asking your customers how they first heard about you? How important is that simple piece of information to you?