Speaking to Your Customers for Business Growth
If the only time you speak to your customers is to on-board them, invoice them or deal with queries, then you aren’t just missing out on an opportunity, you’re potentially harming your business. Aside from getting to know them and building a relationship, they hold vital information that can be the catalyst for business growth, and the warning signs for business disaster.
1. Build Relationships, Command Loyalty
More than ever before, your customers have the power of choice. Super-fast internet, intelligent search, web 2.0 and the rise of the mobile device mean that customers can research, choose and change their provider with as much ease as ordering a takeaway. The true tool for competitive advantage is establishing a relationship.
It costs less to keep a current customer than to find a new one. By talking to your customers, building a relationship and making them feel valued, you reduce the risk of losing them to the competition.
2. Testimonials and Case Studies
Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions and behaviours of others to reflect the correct behaviour for a given situation. In short, people see other people doing something and feel inclined to do it as well, or feel as though that because someone else has done it, it must be good!
This is a powerful tool for anyone marketing a business. By talking to your customers, you can (with permission) quote them as testimonials on your website, social channels or marketing collateral and leverage social proof to win new customers. You may even want to go all the way and write a case study of successful customers.
3. Find Out the Good, Bad & The Ugly
Your customers are more likely to get in touch when they already have a problem and it has gone too far. They’re even less likely to get in touch when you’ve done something positive. Therefore you aren’t getting the full picture of what your customers like, dislike or absolutely hate until it is already too late.
Schedule time regularly to get in touch with your customers and ask them outright what you’ve done well or badly since last time you talked. It might be uncomfortable, but it not only shows that you care about their feelings, it provides an opportunity to nip any issues in the bud from the early stages. If you’re doing something good or bad for one customer, the chances are you’re doing it for others too.
4. Questions for Growth
You can use existing customers to fuel future growth. Identify your ideal customers. The customers that if you acquired more of, would provide the best opportunity for growth. Then reach out to them and ask for their help in the form of a quick 60 second survey using a tool like Typeform or SurveyMonkey.
Find out what their biggest problem has been, what media they engage with, how they found your business, what their business goals and motivations are, what their biggest concern or objection was when they were still one of your prospective customers and anything else you think relevant. Keep it short and simple and if necessary incentivise it (but ensure this doesn’t compromise the results).
Your current customers are the key to your future ones. Invest time in getting to know them, developing last relationships and finding out what makes them tick. By doing this you aren’t only positively affecting customer retention, you’re moving towards new customer acquisition; both of which are essential building blocks of business growth.