It used to be that if a business wanted to find out what people thought about them, they would sent out a paper survey in the mail and ask. These days you can still do that but what you may not realize is your survey is being conducted in homes, businesses and city streets around the world without even you asking for it.
There are two things that are a constant in this world. People have opinions, and people like to talk. Whether we like it or not people are talking about us. Probably even right now as you read this. Are they saying good or bad things. If you're not finding out how will you know? How will you determine what people love about your product or service and what might need a little improvement. And not just your customers. There are ways to find out what your competition is up to without resorting to corporate espionage.
On forums, social networks, and blog sites all over the world people could be talking about you, your product or your business and search engines index all that information.
There are many ways, websites, and tools to keep track of the discussion but the one that I find most useful is a free service from Google called Alerts.
All you need to do is enter a search term or phrase and it will give you a preview of your results as you type. Then select whether you want the information returned from news websites, blogs or any other of the listed result types. Lastly select how often, how many and how you'd like to receive them.
Some of the search queries you could use to get you started are:
- Business Name
- Personal Name
- Industry News
- Names of your competition
- Names of your clients
By using simple tools like Google Alerts to stay abreast of how the world perceives your product, service or the business itself it allows you to make better decisions moving forward.
You can use those same tools to keep up with your industry and rivals to stay competitive in your field.
Today I only talked about Google Alerts, but there are many other websites and services that accomplish the same thing, or better. Which tools are you using to make sure you stay ahead and keep your customers happy?