Marketing Tip – Take Your Questions to Your Customers
Many successful companies are playing with a stacked deck full of marketing experts, advertising gurus, customer experience innovators and market research masters. However, for all the money, time and work that is often put into improving products, services or procedures within a company, there is often a much easier method to find these improvements that involves a significantly smaller investment. Simply put: we all need to listen to what our customers are saying.
The key to talking to your customers is to not prejudge or intuit what you think they will say. Instead, have a real conversation with them, and carefully consider their responses. Try to dig below the superficial in order to really understand how customers feel about your products or service. The emotional response that a customer has to an offering can give you huge insights into how you may be meeting or missing their expectations.
One of the best uses of direct discussions with customers is the brainstorming of new products, features or services that may meet customer needs directly. The reality is that many companies waste time and money developing products or features that customers just don’t need, or want. By taking customer feedback and making it a directly part of a development pipeline, you ensure there is an audience before you ever start developing the product or service in questions.
One of the simplest, and yet most valuable questions you can ask a customer is, “How can we be better?” It doesn’t matter if you are selling products or services, there is always room for improvement, and instead of trying to guess what customers want, there is a lot to be gained by cutting right to the source and asking your existing client base what would make them enjoy what your company offers even more than they currently do.
The real goal of a company that wants to be successful over the long term should not be just to sell products, or just to see growth, but to build a loyal, passionate customer base. Incorporating customer feedback directly into how you develop your organization is a key strategy in developing the kind of brand advocates that will stay with a company for years, while also spreading the word to their individual networks.