When is the last time you asked a customer what they think about something? Not about their needs or wants related to what you’re selling, but rather what they think about the happenings in their industry, the challenges they’re facing in their role or their overall experience with your company?
Sadly, most companies don’t spend time understanding what’s on the mind of their customers, beyond just the sale. A recent Gartner report states that nearly 80% of growth organizations use customer surveys to collect CX data, compared with just 58% of nongrowth organizations. Surveys are only one way to glean valuable insight from your customers.
The simple truth is, if you don’t know what’s on your customer’s mind beyond just the sale, you don’t fully know your customer.
Below is a quick-hit-list of tactics you can use to learn what’s on their mind.
Send a short, less than 5 question survey.
Co-produce a whitepaper.
Conduct an interview for a case study about their experience with your company.
Ask them for a 15-minute meeting because you’d value their opinion about something.
Create a customer advisory/focus group and invite them to participate.
Add a poll question to your customer newsletters/emails.
Send them an industry report and ask what they think of the insight shared in it.
Invite them to offer feedback about your website.
Interview them for a blog on a topic that aligns with their role or industry.
Leverage LinkedIn Account Targeting to reach key contacts, drive them to a polling landing page.
BONUS Tip: Do some investigative work. Check out what they are doing and engaging with on LinkedIn and other social channels. Read up about what others in their type of role and industry are experiencing. All this knowledge helps you build a better connection with them.
Behind each of the 10 tactics is a strategy that should address what you’re asking, why you’re asking it and how you plan on using what you learned. A plan, process and owner for each would be wise as well so that you know who internally is involved and how, the audience you want to ask feedback from, and the process by which you will do so. Finally, don’t forget the metrics. You will want to set up some baseline metrics out of the gate so that you can measure success as you move forward.
Customers are people, just like you and me. They like to share their opinions, ideas, and advice. However, they rarely get asked. Mostly they are sought after to discuss their needs as it relates to selling them something. If you dig deeper and build more meaning around your engagement with your customer, they will find it refreshing and want to respond. They hold knowledge that you can’t get within your four walls. Unlock that knowledge, and you’ll find that your customers offer a wealth of insight that will help improve every area of your company.
Your customers offer a wealth of insight that will help improve every area of your company. All you have to do is ask what's on their mind...
In time, it would also be wise to consider creating an ongoing customer outreach program where you can include multiple tactics that align with core objectives and follow a structured cadence. Outreach programs, also known as customer engagement programs, will give you and your customers the ability to discuss topics that matter beyond just the sale. In turn, the world's view from your customers’ point of view will become much clearer, and the relationship you have with them will develop into one that offers more meaning and value. From there, the connection your customer has with you and your organization will be one they will protect and stay committed to long term. Bonus result? Your customer retention rate significantly improves and so does your revenue.
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