Are your customers and clients telling you what you really need to hear? If you’re not sure, I would recommend taking some steps to open up new and more ingaged lines of communication.
Remember that Surveys Can Have Limitations
Many companies like to distribute surveys and questionnaires to their customers – and with good reason. The data they collect can be easily analyzed.
Yet surveys have limitations. If you only ask customers 12 yes or no questions, you are only going to get 12 pieces of binary data – and only about the issues that you defined and put on the survey. So be sure to include some open-ended questions that allow your customers to record their experiences, emotions, problems and provide other “softer” responses. Just one comment from one customer could be something you really need to hear.
Create Customer Advisory Councils
Invite your high-value customers to become members in advisory councils. They offer one of the most effective ways to break out of the kind of tunnel vision that can prevent companies from hearing what customers are thinking.
Build Personal Lines of Communication to Important Customers
Take a little time to get to know your most important client contacts. If you can pick up the phone every few weeks and ask them, “How was your last order?” or, “Is there anything we can do for you that we’re not doing already?” you will hear comments that can help you keep customers satisfied and loyal.
Keep Gathering Information about Customers from Front-Line Employees
They are uniquely positioned to tell you about how customers are reacting to your products, what their concerns and issues are with what you are selling – and lots more. It is interesting to note that in their confusion and rush to develop new marketing solutions, many companies overlook this vital source of intelligence.
To learn more about communicating in ingaged ways . . .
Today’s post is adapted from information in my new book Ingaging Leadership, which contains more ways to use communication to improve the performance of your organization. I invite you to read it and explore more.