Ask Questions

Gavin Hirst - Friday 13th November 2020


9 key questions you should ask every customer

If you’re not asking questions of your current customers, you’re really missing an opportunity to get some valuable feedback about your products, services, and importantly, your customer service.

There is no better audience for feedback than your existing customers. Understand what it is you do well as well as the things you could be doing better can really help you to build on your competitive advantage and plug any potential gaps, both in terms of your product/service offering, but also in terms of how you can better serve the needs of your customers.

Whilst reviews are a great way of tapping into customer feedback, why not control the conversation and the feedback you are getting by asking direct questions? That way, you get feedback on all the specific areas that are important to you and your business. That way, you can find out which areas are giving you a competitive advantage and where you can improve.

Whether you send out a monthly email, or simply hand out a form to customers and incentivise them to fill it out by offering them a voucher etc., you will be rewarded with some tremendous insights and you will also find that your customers value the opportunity to provide you with honest feedback.

It’s also important that you drill down into people’s answers. Whilst things like ‘you deliver great customer service’ provides a positive indicator, it doesn’t really tell you all that much. Try and dig a bit deeper and find out what exactly it was about your customer service and maybe ask for a specific instance so you can not only look to build on that, but also provide feedback to your staff if it’s relevant.

So, what questions should you be asking to try and get the most out of your customer feedback? Let’s take a look at 9 key questions we think you should ask every customer.

1.      How did you hear about us?

This question really helps you to understand your marketing channels and allows you to get a picture of which channels are actually bringing in the most customers. This can really help you to prioritise your marketing budget and focus your spending on the channels that deliver the highest ROI.

2.      What made you decide to hire/buy from us?

Once you have discovered how a customer found you, it’s a great follow up to find out why they decided to buy from you. There are many different answers that can come from a question like this – it could be their experience on your website, a recommendation from a friend, excellent customer service in-store, the ‘feel’ of your business – any number of factors can play into the buying decision making but understanding all of these different factors can help you to tailor your products and services as well as your customer service to meet the needs of more and more customers.

3.      What’s the one thing we do better than other companies you do business with?

In this question, you are trying to understand what truly differentiates you from the competition. It is a question that can lead to vague answers to if you do get the opportunity to carry out in-person research, this is one of the questions you can really delve into to discover the keywords that come up time and time again. Are people all saying the same thing about your business, product, or service? If they are, you might want to consider adding this into your key marketing messaging.

4.      What do our competitors do that’s better than us?

It might be that your customers don’t actually shop with your competitors, but if they do, you would be naïve to think that there are some things they don’t do better than you. If you can find out some specifics and understand where their strengths lie, you can start to tailor your solution to further differentiate yourself and open up opportunities for your product’s growth.

5.      What’s the main benefit you receive from our product/service?

When it comes to value, it’s good to understand the value that your customers receive from your product or service. What are the features that they find irreplaceable? At what cost are they no longer willing to pay? These are great questions to help you to understand your value proposition, nail your pricing strategy, and differentiate your business from the competition.

6.      What’s one thing we could do to create a better experience for you?

Whilst this looks like a question focused on your customer experience delivery, you will be surprised by the results. You will probably get some really good feedback about how you could improve your customer experience – either through your website or face to face contact – however, you will also get some nuggets when it comes to product and service innovations. Whilst you might think you have nailed your product or service, every now and again, a customer will come along with a suggestion that is a game-changer.

7.      Do you recommend us to your family and friends and if so, why?

If you are not receiving a large amount of your business by way of referral or word of mouth, you’ve probably got some gaps in your processes. Understanding why customers recommend or don’t recommend your business can really help to you to uncover those gaps and help you to plug them quickly. This question is one that plays towards the Net Promoter Score (NPS) element of customer feedback – rather than this being a quantitative number, focus on the qualitative feedback and understand how customers describe your business to a friend.

8.      What’s the one thing we should never stop doing?

Find out that one thing that customers really value about your business and make sure you keep on doing it. Simple as. Whether it’s your awesome customer service, your support, your social media activity, or your physical products – understanding what customers value about your business will ensure you don’t stop doing the things they love.

9.      Thinking about the products/services we sell, what would you Google to find a business like ours?

As an SEO agency, this is the one that we are always really interested in. It’s keyword research at its most basic level – find out how people are searching for your business or the products you sell and make sure you are optimising the pages on your website for those keywords. Simple. This will help you to avoid industry jargon and focus on the keywords your actual customers are searching for.

Summary

If you truly want to understand your customers, ask them. However you choose to engage with your customers – email, printed questionnaire or face-to-face – getting feedback directly from your customers is a great way of improving many aspects of your business. From communication to product development, asking the right questions can provide so many invaluable insights that you just can’t get from tools like Google Analytics or heat mapping tools.

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