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When you deal with large companies, you’re probably used to being asked to complete satisfaction surveys or other...
When you deal with large companies, you’re probably used to being asked to complete satisfaction surveys or other questionnaires.
There’s a good reason for this: Established firms know that the best way to continually assess their performance is to ask the right questions of their customers.
This article isn’t about producing satisfaction surveys to use with your customers, although that s certainly a strategy that may be appropriate for your business.
Instead, this article looks at things from a slightly higher level, and presents seven questions you should (at least occasionally) be asking your customers.
You should never underestimate the value of a friendly relationship with your customers. Clients who feel a personal attachment to you are far less likely to disappear off to an alternative supplier.
“How’s business?” may seem like a rather cheesy and superficial question to ask, but the answer can be revealing. If a customer implies that business is booming then it could be time to try to sell additional products and services. If they give the opposite response, it may make more sense to reign in their credit limit and keep an eye on unpaid invoices!
If you work in a “business to business” environment, you may often know next to nothing about the sectors your clients work in. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to enhance your knowledge. By asking the right questions, you can learn more about each client’s priorities, and end up in a better position to pitch appropriate products and services.
This question is often the main essence of the satisfaction surveys mentioned earlier in this article. If you are passionate about providing a good service, you should give your customers a regular opportunity to give you feedback. Most importantly, you should take their comments in good grace and work to make suitable improvements.
This can sometimes be a tough one to address and is perhaps best dealt with in an informal situation, but it’s useful to know if your competitors have been sniffing around and trying to entice business away from you.
This is similar to asking if there’s anything you should be doing better, but has a different objective. It’s best asked when you’re confident you are doing a great job. If you ask the question of all of your clients and they all say they are happy, then that’s a great statistic to quote in your promotional literature. Even better, you can ask for testimonials to strengthen your reputation when you pitch to new clients.
Finding out what’s happening within your clients’ businesses will help to give you new sales opportunities. Better than simply asking “what’s new?” is doing your homework and saying something along the lines of, “I hear you are launching this new service?” and then having a perfect service of your own that will help them to deliver it.