I called a long standing customer of our of our software products the other day and the first thing he said was “Hi Rob, I’m amazed you called. I haven’t ever heard from anyone in your business before.”
And it’s true, he hadn’t actually ever spoken to anyone in the organisation before. He signed up to access our service via his bank, his access information was sent to him via email, and since then he’s been signing in to the service and using it himself in order to get the value he needs. At no point in the 5 years+ that he has been a customer has he spoken to any person within our business.
We had a great conversation for an hour, where he told me all the good things about the service we offer, the areas that he hoped it would get better, and importantly he told me about the challenges he faces as being the Finance Director of a small to medium sized business.
All of this information is absolute gold for me in helping figure out how we can get better at making businesses get control of their money.
At one point in the conversation he said ‘would you mind if I email you when i have something I think you should know?’, to which I said ‘of course not’ and I proceeded to tell him how every customer who signs up to CreditHQ will get an email from me where I ask for them to give me some feedback.
I give every customer the chance to email me with the answer to a specific question such as ‘tell me your biggest business challenge today’ or to complete a questionnaire that takes about 2 minutes to do.
It’s amazing what you find out. And it’s amazing how you can use this to make decisions in your business about what you can do next. Sometimes it’s a little thing (we don’t care about feature X) but sometimes it’s a bigger thing (you should charge more than you do).
And all through just asking.
Many businesses are scared to ask their customers what they think because they worry that they think bad things about them. But they’re your customers so you already do something they like or they wouldn’t have got that far. Why not listen to them and get them to give you more of their custom, or get them to spread the word about how great you are because you listen. A colleague of mine who was recently at SXSW (where we were showcasing CreditHQ as part of the UKTI’s Tech Ambassador programme), was told by an Über driver that he much preferred driving for the competitor taxi firm over there, Lyft, purely because they get in touch with their drivers asking for feedback and how they can improve conditions for them.
We can’t do everything we get told would help, but we might find out some things we can stop doing that frees us up to do more of the good stuff.
You never know! Just ask!