Have you ever asked your customers why they buy from you?
This question was posed to my staff a few years ago and at first it felt so elementary. Of course we know why they buy from us. We provide the best services at the best prices and our product is stellar. Wait, did we ask the question or did we assume? Nine times out of ten, we assumed.
When we really start to dig in and ask the questions of our customers we learn why they buy from us, why they do not buy from us, and what we could do to garner a larger share of the market. We have to ask these questions though. As managers we tend to only speak with customers in two situations. The first being when everything is going right and the second is when everything’s going wrong. It’s easy to call a client to say “thanks.” It is also easy to call a client and say, “we screwed up.”
When we ask the questions we also show that we care. Often times clients think that we just want to make money and the connection with them is secondary. By asking deep questions we can learn insights into their world and how to better serve them. It will also make that next, “we screwed up” phone call a lot easier because you have built a meaningful relationship which proves you care.
Consider surveying your customer base. Build yourself a short survey and send it out to your top 25 customers. Ask questions that invoke thought and that will ultimately challenge your processes and drive better customer service results. This will show that you both care and that you want to be a better partner.
So the question of, “why did you buy me” becomes one of the most important you can ask. I have asked sales people to ask this question and they always think they know the answer but when I ask the client, the sales person is usually wrong. Sales people tend to think it was cost, a client will tell you it was the service and attention they received or the process. If sales people understand this is the most important aspect of the sales process they will keep their prices high and improve their service as opposed to lower prices to move product.
If you already think you know the answers to these questions, then you are well on your way to failing. Ignorance will be bliss for your competition. The sooner you understand, the quicker you can fix any issues.
Look at it this way. Coca-Cola wouldn’t change their recipe without some market research. Consider this your market research.