Encourage Your Clients to Talk to Their Customers…Now More Than Ever!

Business is brisk for me…I feel grateful!  But I wasn’t expecting this…I was hunkering down like everyone else, looking for ways to find new customers and slim down on the overhead…(haven’t stopped either of those, by the way!).

I recently talked to some of my clients (who had come to me for help with customer surveys and interviews) about why were considering talking to their customers and getting their input so important right now?  I knew that their organizations were tightening their belts in order to save jobs and keep their businesses afloat.  Why was getting customer input a big focus in the midst of all that?

What I heard made so much sense…I wish I had thought of it myself!

These clients consider the act of talking to their customers and making decisions with their customers in mind to be KEY to their survival of this crazy economy…their customers are having to do their own tough analysis of costs and are looking for ways to cut costs.  My clients want to be partners in that process vs. just wait for the fallout to see how things turn out.  They want to make their OWN decisions about what to cut by focusing on the activities that provide less value to their customers. They don’t want to make mistakes and alienate their customers.

They consider talking to their customers a key survival strategy.  See my recent paper, 7 Reasons to Talk to Your Customers in a Bad Economy, for more information about WHY your clients should be talking to their customers.

Below are ideas about HOW they can talk to their customers…some they may already be doing…others may be good additions to the mix:

  • Personal calls from upper management, salespeople, support staff
  • Customer surveys
  • Questions/conversations during support calls
  • Conducting an ongoing customer loyalty monitoring effort
  • Monitoring and commenting on existing blogs and discussion boards where their customers are talking about your client and their products
  • Monitoring Twitter for comments about their company and its products

Help your clients get started…encourage them to call a customer today and see what is on their mind…they’ll be glad you did!  (I sure was…)

About Jen Berkley Jackson

Jen Berkley Jackson, founder and owner of The Insight Advantage, has extensive experience in using various methods (surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews) to integrate the voice of the customer into all functions, helping organizations increase market share, revamp product lines/services, and ultimately increase customer loyalty and retention.

Comments

  1. I love this post on so many levels. It’s a great reminder for us to encourage our clients to talk with their customers but also for us as consultants to talk with our clients as well and find out what they really need before they decide to look somewhere else.

    I also like hearing that companies really are talking with their clients–and not just in social media but across the board wherever there’s an interaction opportunity. Customer service is so much more than responding to and fixing a problem, it’s being proactive and trying to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

    Don’t just guess at what your customers want, ask. Simple, straightforward, but not always the first thing we do when implementing customer-related activities, projects, offerings, etc.

  2. Avery-

    Thanks for your thoughts….and you are so right! We as consultants MUST be talking to our customers…always!! They can be our radar for changing issues/methodologies, etc., helping us continue to be thought leaders in our fields.

    And, yes, talking to your customers is definitely ‘common sense, but not common practice’…we get caught up in ‘the work’ and forget that we need to nurture our relationships with past customers in order to make sure that the next time they need help, they think of us…and no one else! :o)

  3. Well said Avery and Jennifer! So true!

    When reminded to talk to our own customers/clients, we often think, “Well that is just so obvious.” However in the real world there is so much going on at so many levels that we sometimes forget or overlook the obvious.

    A recent conversation with a client brought that home again. On an annual basis, she provides four different, routine communication resources for her financial investment clients. They range from annual to quarterly–always with the option to ‘call at any time.’

    When we discussed and ranked her methods, in preparation to simplify and focus her time and energies, she already had a very good feel for what her clients like best and least–based on her always-observant personality. She was most unsure about her most recent offering. She knew she hadn’t marketed it well, though still got about a 5 to 10 percent enthusiastic participation. Those participants were very happy with the whole package.

    We created a plan that will provide a more appropriate amount of marketing, and several opportunities for the clients to provide input and feedback, before, during and after implementation.

    With that feedback we will evaluate our suspicions of most effective communications and then the opportunity for her to focus, simplify and effectively use her time and talents to best serve her clients. A total win-win situation!

    Understanding your customers and your customers’ customers is the most effective way to assure successful marketing, enable continuous contact, and best gain not only satisfied, but LOYAL clients.

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