What's The Missing X?

sales & marketing Apr 08, 2019

What do your customers truly value?
Are they telling you themselves?
Do you know what they really want from you?


If we're trying really hard to create happy customers, it's a good idea to make sure it's working. We need to be listening to our customers, understanding their experience with our business, and making improvements or changes that align with their expectations. This is all about customer feedback.


Why Gain Customer Feedback?
Knowing what your customers value and what they think of you is of central importance. In particular it will help you to:
  • Ensure you retain your hard-won customers
  • Improve or develop your product/service and customer experience
  • Repair mistakes and avoid critical errors
  • Gain valuable testimonials and referrals
  • Refine your marketing message
Most businesses cannot answer the question, 'What is value to the customer?' If they do, it is often their own opinion, not that of the customer. Knowing precisely what your customers really value is inextricably linked to your business success. You need to create raving fans who love what you do, talk about you, recommend you to others, and will return to you for more. This gives any business the strongest foundation.


Methods of Gaining Customer Feedback
These range from creating email surveys, or asking your client face-to-face, to using review sites and social media, or employing specialist agencies. Enabling your customers to give feedback anonymously can help them be more open and honest. An independent researcher can also help customers feel confident that negative comments can be fed back to you, without reference to their source.

For example, customer feedback business Insight6 (previously Shopper Anonymous) utilise an easy-to-use, web-based application called feedbackdirect to gather regular feedback from customers in a simple, but importantly bespoke, way.

Paul Matthews, the Sussex director for Insight6, described the process as simple for the customer, as it can be completed anytime, anywhere:
"When feedback is occasionally negative, it's great to know about it
so that an intervention can be made and (hopefully) turn it into a positive.
And when it's positive you have a ready-made testimonial."

The key to the process is to define what specific feedback you're looking for and why, before deciding how to try and acquire it. A simple way of doing this is to ask:
'On a scale of 0-10 how would you rate the service you received from us?'

However, the most important question is the next one: 
What could we do to make it better?

the answer, what you really want to know, is:
What's the missing X that would make it a 10?

This technique highlights where you most need to improve - and helps you develop your business, product, or customer service appropriately.


Using Customer Feedback
In addition to refining your product, service or customer experience, customer feedback can be used to enhance your marketing messages. By hearing what your customers value from you, in their own words, you can take any frequently used phrases to improve your marketing. Marketing messages are better understood when using your clients' language, and this is the perfect opportunity to gather those phrases.

When you're listening to what your clients truly value you can more effectively promote the benefits and features of your business service or product. This may include promoting improvements or new services to existing clients... 
 
Are you genuinely open to both good and bad feedback?

To what degree are you proactively finding out:

 what your customers truly value from you?
 what they think you could do better?

How do you ensure that your clients can give you
the difficult feedback you most need to hear?
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