Sometimes we like to share what our Experts are encountering as current “hot topics”. This month has seen two clients with long established business that both have ambitious growth and new market plans – but both share a common issue, they have never ever looked to use their own huge vault of “data gold” – their own customer opinions and feedback. In many years of trading they had simply become “deaf” to their own customers!

Why is your customer feedback so valuable?  On so many levels and for so many areas of your business, here is just a quick summary to consider.

Measuring Customer satisfaction – Some business board rooms take the view that increase or decrease in sales is the best form of gauging customer satisfaction, sadly this “binary” on/off approach can only tell you of final outcomes or final purchase decisions, and not begin to tell you “why” your customers do or don’t buy from you. Incidentally this is the single biggest reason/excuse given by SME’s for not seeking customer feedback, as normally for many years “sales have increased every year, so we must be doing something right” – But they could be doing something even better, and importantly could avoid the inevitable year when sales decrease.  Customer satisfaction is a a direct flagging device for what you do well, and what you do badly, it should also be used to point to what is important in your customers mind (rather than important in your mind).  Given the now ubiquitous nature of on line reviews for goods and services, it is even more surprising these days when many non e commerce businesses just do not see the need to gain customer satisfaction data.

Aligning Product and Service to Customer needs – A customer may buy your product Widget A, because that is as close as they can find to what the “really want”. If you can engage with your customers and ask the right questions, that could reveal what the “really want” which could be the start of some fantastic NPD (New Product Development) work that boost your sales by 100%, as no one else thought to offer Widget B – as no one else asked their customers what would be better for them than widget A.  The same great benefit can come simply from discovering how a customer wants to consume, receive or use your Widget A, so without changing the product, you just tweak its delivery or some part of your service – “to benefit your customer”.

Improving Customer Experience and Customer Retention –  By talking to your customer specifically when NOT trying to sell to them, demonstrates to your customer that you care about them and their future business and suggest you are a professional and progressive business. Customers will admire this and possible even refer their friends to you, and of course be far less likely to look to move their custom to another supplier. So, imagine being so disruptive as to get your sales team for one day just to talk to your customers, but under instruction NOT to try and sell anything, but just listen to what the customer has to say – you may be surprised how this then boosts your long-term sales and the success of your business.

Better Data for Better Decisions – A Business may start on a hunch, or a “gut feel”, or even a “hope and a prayer”, but as any business grows, develops and matures, it should base its decisions upon facts, data and expert analysis of such inputs.  Not to use fact-based decisions to run your business makes as much sense as never using a weather forecast, or sometimes becomes as financially suicidal as never looking at traffic light signals.  Your customers are a rich source of data, just waiting for you to down load it and consider what they are telling you and how you can then ensure your business is aligned to its markets and its customers.

Research for New Markets – Whether in a new territory (country) or just a new Market Segment, if your business has no current customers, then it is time to reach out to who you suspect may be potential customers and talk to them.  Take this as a touch of Minority Reports “Pre-Crime” strategy, where you are actually gaining customer feedback, before they become customers. But in this way, you will enter a new market with eyes wide open and know what your potential customers will need form you to make that critical purchase decision. Isn’t this much better than just wasting many marketing and advertising dollars to discover you “guessed wrong” about a new market?

So, when you have finished that board room discussion about your business direction, and every director has expressed their opinion, now go and talk to the people that really matter – your customers, as they are the ones that provide for all of your salaries – not the board of directors!


If you need some Expert help on establishing fantastic business decisions, based upon customer feedback, that will deliver significant growth in sales and profits – Talk to one of our Experts today.