How good is your product or service – really? If you’re not delivering the best you can do, any time or money you spend on marketing is wasted. Advertising, web sites, promotions and the like make sure your prospects can find you and tempt some of them to give you a try. How good your product is and and how fulfilling the buying process is determines whether first time buyers become regular customers.

How do you start to assess the goodness of your product and customer experience? Here’s a few easy ways:

Ask your employees – You may be the only person at your business who doesn’t really know. Take employees aside, make clear there’s no penalty for honesty and ask them what they think. Find out what they’d change if they wanted to better for customers.

Ask your customers – Call ones you know – call some you don’t know too. Have someone get on the phone an conduct a short survey.

Secret Shopper – Get a friend to buy something from you and tell you what the experience was like and what he or she thinks of the product. Get them to go though the whole process in detail.

Buy from yourself – If you have a web site, pretend you’re a customer and carefully evaluate the experience you offer. Go to a competitors site and do a careful comparison

Make a list of what needs to be changed, how you’re going to change it, by when. When you’re done fixing your product and customer experience, you can think about marketing.