The gifts that keep on giving
When you ask customers for feedback you stand to gain powerful insight into the workings of your business. I didn’t say you’d always like what you hear, but at least you’d know where there may be bottlenecks and problems in your business or processes, so you could identify required actions and clear any major problems.
As part of this series, we looked into the idea of Customer Engagement and relationships in this previous post (check it out here). You can give it a read if you missed it.
By asking your customers for feedback you can gain invaluable information into the workings of your business. You may not be aware of one or two things causing certain problems for current customers, simply because you aren’t your own customer. There’s also another win for you. When you ask your customer for feedback, the opportunities for real customer engagement is right at hand. You don’t have to come up with outlandish ways to try to connect with people.
Be Open to listening
Being open to listening to customers have to say is so powerful. These people have actually bought and used your product or service. So they are qualified to make judgement. This has to benefit you, and the customer when they feel listened to and appreciated.
Do you have to ask every customer for feedback? The answer is no but from time to time you should ask for feedback or even create a survey for this purpose. The way you approach this could be informally or more formally, based on where you are with your business and where you are looking for input. You could even offer a discount or coupon as a reward to those who take the time to complete the survey.
Pay attention to the feedback and follow up by asking further questions if necessary. You may notice a common theme amongst all the feedback, this can help you identify any weak areas of your business.
Referrals from your customers
When it comes to relationship marketing you have several options that can help you perform this task. One way to do this is by building a relationship with your customers, valuing their feedback and previous investment in your business and then asking them for referrals. This method works very well and can help you attract new business daily.
Let’s talk about referrals and how they can help you build your business. How many times have you found yourself recommending a product or service to someone? Word of mouth referrals are a great weapon to have inside your business.
Most people have some type of network and it only takes one person to recommend a product to another person for your network to grow. Take a look at Facebook for example, how many friends do you have? At least 100 or more.
You don’t think twice about sharing something with all of your friends, when it is something you really like. This is the type of concept you want to have in place for your business.
If you can develop a good relationship with just one customer, you can gain access to their network of friends. Of course, all of these people aren’t going to become customers or clients. But you might find one or two, and really that is all you need. You simply work on building a relationship with these and then rinse and repeat the process.
You need to ask for the referral!
Your happy clients would be more than happy to help spread the word about your product or services, and often they just need to be reminded that you’re looking for more business. It’s not enough to say “Hey, you know somebody?” You want to make sure you get referrals for the type of customer’s you are looking for. How do you do that?
You may want to prepare a short blurb explaining who you are looking for, what you offer and a reminder of how you work with people. You need to make it easy for people to spread the word. Don’t expect them to come up with it on their own – you may end up with a list of people who don’t meet your preferred client type if you just leave everything really vague.
One last thing on the ask for referrals thing. You should make asking part of your regular business tasks, even to the point of adding it to your everyday tasks and your communication plan (it’s also another great touch-point with your customers). Schedule it and take action. It will pay off in spades.
What could an ask look like? Well, something as simple as during your conversation with a happy client: “It’s been great working with you – you are just the type of customer I can best serve and connect with. I’m looking for more customers just like you! Those who are looking for (fill in the blank______), who are very interested in (fill in the blank ______), and would benefit from my (fill in the blank _____).” This could also work by email, and you could mix it up for timely asks for referrals. You wouldn’t want to wear out your customers, but you do want to help them help you and their valued connections. I hope this example helps!
Start working on asking for referrals for your business and asking for feedback. Both of these are fantastic tools that can help you quickly grow your business.
What should you do now? Reach out and ASK for 10 referrals in the next two weeks. See how this action alone can help drive more customers to your door.