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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Customers, What do they really think about your company

Customer feedback or not

I have myself lost track slightly of my customers in times gone past, once the PO is placed and the Invoice paid it's on to the next fire to fight, funding event, board meeting, flight to catch, in a small early stage company 2 to 3 employees, it is hard to follow up regularly, if your cutomer based is more that 40 companies, you end up priotitiseing the customer base and chaseing up the next order, you never take too much time to get to know what your customers think about you, what you could do better, and where there buisness is going etc, these things are taken care off when you grow and can afford a biz dep person, but until you get there , it's up to you. I myself spend time now and make it a point to touch bases on the phone with the main customers regularly every couple of weeks..and the rest by email every 4 to 6 weeks, I have found that this has improved the business and customer retention.

This article below details customer feed back questions, some you should know the answers too anyway, but others are interesting it can be found on the Bnet UK webpage>

10 Customer Feedback Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Lots of organisations invest a lot of time, money and effort in getting customer feedback. I also think that lots of organisations waste lots of time, money and effort in getting customer feedback.

Why? They ask the wrong questions, they ask lots of questions, but don’t actually listen, or they listen to the answers and then do nothing about what they hear.

I’m all for getting customer feedback –- it’s a great source of ideas, opportunities, improvements, and it demonstrates to your customers you care, provided you do listen and then take action.

Too many organisations simply get boxes ticked, go through the motions, and ask questions that don’t make them too uncomfortable.

So, just to get you thinking, here are 10 questions you might want to consider asking your customers that challenge the status quo and possibly improve your performance, attitude and relationships.

  1. What attracted you to us originally? This helps get a view of how you are seen in the market place and what are the things that appeal to your customers.
  2. What would you do if we weren’t here? This may give an insight into the value they place on you as a supplier — Would they actually notice if you disappeared?
  3. Can you name one particular individual who has impressed you in our organisation? This highlights your customer champions, and maybe some of your unsung heroes. If they can’t name anyone, what does that say about the way your people interact with your customers?
  4. What one thing could we do better? Just one thing -– it may highlight their priorities and key issues.
  5. Why do you buy from us? This highlights your strengths –- some of which, you may not be aware of. Be careful how you phrase this one. You might sound as if you’re doubting yourselves.
  6. If our business was the best in the world, what would it look like? This one stretches the imagination, and even though you may not be able to deliver exactly what they say, it may give you a few ideas about what they see as important.
  7. Name one thing that we do or don’t do that irritates you –- The key is doing something about it.
  8. Who can we learn from? This helps you identify who your customers see as role models, and might just point something out that’s not happening in your industry you could learn from.
  9. What would you say to someone else who asked you about us? Their initial response to this is often a revealing one.
  10. What is the one thing we should never stop doing? This one tells you what they really value about you.

You may feel you can’t ask these questions to your customers. That’s not a problem, as long as you can find some questions that you can ask.

Article by Andy Hanselman he is an independent consultant specialising in improving business competitiveness. He has authored two books: ‘Thinking in 3D – Creating A Business That’s Dramatically And Demonstrably Different’, and ‘Revolutionise The Profitability Of Your Business’, and is currently writing his third, ‘Maximising Customer Relationships’.

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