I often get asked, “What’s the magic bullet?” or “What’s something I can do that no one else is doing?” Sometimes that question is related to marketing. Sometimes sales. Sometimes customer satisfaction (or, as I prefer, customer delight).
Having a Conversation
The answer is simple (well, simple to say, not so simple to do): talk to your customers and LISTEN to their answers. What, you say? That’s it? But here’s the question: when was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with a customer you really like … in which you only listened. You weren’t trying to sell something. You weren’t trying to fix a problem. You weren’t asking them for a reference.
If your answer is “a month or two ago,” when was the time before that? This is the issue most midsized businesses struggle with: consistent, honest, customer feedback. But wait, you say, “I know what my customers think about us. They’re still our customers. They like us.”
Great! But why do they like you? (Is it just because it’s too much trouble to find a new vendor?) Why did they buy from you in the first place? What process did they go through to find you? What messages resonated with them? What was good (and bad) in your sales process with them? There are dozens of questions to ask if you make the time to do it.
THAT’S the magic bullet.
Regularly talking to your customers (or having a partner do it for you) helps you track the pulse of your business from the outside in.
Surveys can’t do this. Only 20-30% of your customers will complete a survey of meaningful length – and generally, only the happy or upset customers do them anyway. The magic happens in the conversation, the nuances and intonation of the answers. The pauses that tell the interviewer there’s something else.
What Your Customers Will Tell You
Want to know how to consistently beat your competition? Your customers will tell you.
Want to know which features are important in your products or services? Your customers will tell you.
Want to know which salespeople are superstars and which are costing you? Your customers will tell you.
Want to know if your billing/legal/service staff is up to snuff? Your customers will tell you.
Customer stories are the most useful pieces of content for sales and marketing and they come from … customer conversations!
I get it. It’s hard to talk to YOUR customers (it’s hard for us to talk to ours) and get objective answers. The most useful exercise we’ve done for our marketing in the last three years was to trade interviewing time with a couple of other marketing firms and have them interview our customers while we interview theirs.
So if you want to get customer insights that can reshape your business – or confirm you’re doing it right – talk with us. We can help. We’ve got dozens of stories.