Talk to your customers
Logan Wedgwood reveals the best three questions that can improve your business this year. I’ve heard it said that 2018 is ‘The Year of the Customer’, and I have to say that it’s about time. It’s encouraging to see more and more businesses competing (and building customer loyalty!) through the development of a culture of […]
Logan Wedgwood reveals the best three questions that can improve your business this year.
I’ve heard it said that 2018 is ‘The Year of the Customer’, and I have to say that it’s about time. It’s encouraging to see more and more businesses competing (and building customer loyalty!) through the development of a culture of ‘Extreme Customer Focus’.
One of the latest business buzzwords (or phrases) you may have heard, the term Extreme Customer Focus tends to get thrown around. By way of explanation it’s much as it sounds – and basically consists of ensuring your internal culture and ¬your people work together to deliver on an exceptional set of customer service rules.
Seems obvious, right? However, this is more than a simple customer service rule or value that you might have found at a call centre from the 1980s. This is about delivering on the key moments. Those ‘make or break’ moments that matter in your customer’s relationship with your brand.
Far more than just a good intention, developing a culture of Extreme Customer Focus takes time. It’s a cultural shift, not a quick fix.
If you’re not sure that you’re up for the journey though, let me suggest some research. Book a meeting with several of your best customers, as well as a couple who have recently left you or stopped using your services, and ask them the following three questions:
1. If there is one thing we could be doing better, what would that be?
2. Have you received any additional value from our relationship over and above what we were contracted to do?
3. What’s the best experience you have had with us?
You might be wondering what these questions do for you? Their answers will form the basis of changing the way you look after your customers.
Making a change, especially at a fundamental and cultural level, isn’t always easy – but it is essential that you keep raising the bar. If you want to win in business you cannot accept mediocrity or allow yourself to get complacent. Especially if your competitors are evolving!
So, circling back to how these questions help you:
Question 1 is a good, soft starter. If you sit down with ten clients and ask them this question, you will discover at least one consistent theme. It could be something like communication. Either way, it’s your first major clue. Ask people exactly what you could do to be better – and they will tell you exactly what you need to improve. This becomes the first action on your new task list.
Question 2 is interesting because most businesses simply expect you to deliver what was agreed. You might think you’re doing a really good job for them, but if it’s just what was discussed, you’re probably realistically just ticking the ‘adequate’ box for them.
Adequate is all well and good, but wouldn’t you rather be exceptional?
Too often we focus on doing what we said we would do and forget to do great things we didn’t say we would. The pleasant stuff that surprises and delights them makes a difference.
Ask your customers what sorts of value-adds are relevant for them and their business and add these ideas to an ‘improvement bucket’ for your team to work through.
The best suggestion from the pile makes the next task on your immediate action list, as above.
Lastly, Question 3 exists to validate what you do well. This is your current standard, the one you have demonstrated you can meet. Consider this standard your ‘bare-ass minimum’ and concentrate everything you now do on exceeding that.
From this, more actions will no doubt make it onto your list.
Time to delight
In just three questions, with answers straight from your customers’ own mouths, you have discovered what your business can improve, how you can further add value (a key differentiator) and what your lowest standard of acceptance is.
Now start working through the list derived from your findings and delight your customers. Do this, and you will have started your journey.
Logan Wedgwood is an Auckland-based management consultant specialising in marketing and sales.