A successful business needs honest feedback from its customers to evaluate how well those customers’ needs are being met. But customer feedback should be far more than a generic gauge of customer satisfaction. Obtaining customer input is a valuable way to hear firsthand what customers think of your customer experience, products, and services, as well as how to improve them. Just as important, asking customers for their feedback builds customer loyalty and increases retention.

Here are three key benefits of using customer surveys as an information gatherer and relationship builder.

Detailed Insight

The number one benefit of customer surveys is gathering customers’ honest opinions about various facets of your business. Surveys can help you gain insight into how the customer feels about your company and the experience you deliver. Asking the right questions will help you determine, for example, how much customers value the products or services you offer, which provides additional insight into their likelihood to switch providers. Surveys can be an outlet for customers to share detailed feedback not only on products and services, but also on everything from customer service and sales interactions to billing and shipping to ad campaigns and the website experience. Surveys also can help identify potential areas for growth.

Long-term View

Surveys can be repeated. Running a survey multiple times with a defined control will provide you with data ready for comparative analysis. As you collect more surveys, you will have more data to draw deeper analysis and conclusions about your business. Over time, the data will not only reveal important and perhaps unexpected trends, but also may uncover changes you did not anticipate.

Commitment to the Customer

Asking for feedback shows customer commitment, which helps build loyalty and trust—especially if it’s clear to customers how their feedback will be used. If customers’ values, opinions, and feelings are important to your company, demonstrate that by involving customers in ensuring and improving the quality of your products or services. Their input can uncover opportunities for improvements or expansion that you might not have discovered otherwise. And using their feedback is a powerful way to build engagement and loyalty if you close the loop and communicate back to customers the ways that you’ve acted on (and plan to act on) their input and the outcomes of doing so.