Our very first customers came on board more than 20 years ago as our business was just getting off the ground. As many businesses may recall from their early days, or perhaps are experiencing right now, those first customers come with lessons that in-turn shape your objectives, processes, and often your product or service itself. Being receptive to these lessons can be the defining factor in whether a business makes it past their first year, but can’t be forgotten just because things are going well. This is exactly why today, Get to Know Your Customers Day, actually occurs four times each year. As Kristin Smaby puts it, “When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better.”
Beyond Get to Know Your Customers Day: Regularly Solicit Feedback
While a few customers may offer their opinion without being prompted, it’s certainly not the norm and in most cases leaves out customers who feel less passionate – whether that be for positive or negative reasons. To incorporate customer feedback in your business discussions, the best place to start is by soliciting feedback regularly. While many companies do this on an annual or biannual cadence, we’ve found that asking for feedback after an engagement with our team returns a higher percentage of responses. These responses typically include greater detail since the experience the customer had is still fresh in their mind. There are many services that can help to automate this process, like AskNicely which can trigger an email after a ticket is closed in your CRM. You may also consider soliciting customers for reviews on public sites like Consumer Affairs which will give potential customers comparing their options a glimpse into what their experience with you will be like. Here are some examples, taken from our own Consumer Affairs Profile:
Make Followups Personal by Calling Your Customers
Now for the most important part: consume all of the feedback you’ve received and remember to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Not only did they purchase your product or service, but they took the time to share their thoughts. If anything in their response is unclear, there is a matter that is unsettled, or they are upset, reach out and call them right away. You may even consider getting a special phone number for customer feedback only. Not only will you be able to get to the bottom of the issue, but your fast response time and personal approach will let the customer know what you truly care about their experience – and not just because it’s Get to Know Your Customers Day. But don’t just respond to the negative reviews! Be sure to thank customers who have reviewed you and reach out to learn more. Digging into positive reviews may also help you build a library of testimonials or case studies.