recent post, I discussed the importance of communicating with customers and not making assumptions about them. Listening to feedback from your customers can be incredibly helpful.In a
Your customers can provide insights about how they’re using your
product or service and why they bought it (two key factors to ongoing
success). I’ve found that consistently talking with customers is a good
management and marketing strategy.
In short, keep the initial conversation going.
Although there is never one right answer or approach for every
business, in my experience, customers appreciate when a business owner
asks them for their thoughts about a product or service. I believe
training employees to speak with customers and get feedback is
important. However, when I’ve picked up the phone to call a customer
directly, it reinforces the importance of customer feedback and sets a
I often get asked about the frequency of talking with customers. It
really varies based on the type of business and your relationship with
your customers. With some businesses, calling monthly might be too much,
but calling once a year is not enough.
Two lessons that I learned during my career were to call my biggest
clients quarterly or shortly after they made a large purchase. This
approach worked for me and helped to maintain my relationships with
these key clients.
You want to learn from customers, but it’s also good to respect their
time. I usually keep calls to 15 – 30 minutes and let my customer drive
For example, I typically prepare a few questions for a particular
customer, but let him or her steer the discussion. In some cases, we
went in a completely unexpected direction, but it was helpful because I
understood why customers made certain decisions. This information
allowed me to market my businesses to them more strategically.
Also, I wasn’t afraid to ask someone to clarify a comment or tell
them I didn’t understand what they meant with a particular phrase. I’ve
typically found that asking for clarification is good. I think it’s a
lot better than making an assumption and being totally off base. I’ve
learned that lesson the hard way early in my career and it taught me not
to make assumptions.
One of my favorite articles about talking with customers is from a Tech Republic blog in 2007. I still believe that the advice is relevant today and worth a read.
Ultimately, I consider talking to customers like going on a date. I
try to stay positive, make a good impression, and let them do most of