How to Discover What Clients Want from You

by Michelle Salater on April 11, 2011

client needs

Many small business owners spend years scratching their heads, wondering why sales aren’t as high as their competitors’. Often, the confused business owners don’t know what clients actually want, trying to force a product / service on them that they don’t actually need or desire.

In order to best understand what your clients want, it’s essential to ask past, new, and prospective customers what pains them and what they need to solve this problem. When you can develop a product that speaks to your clients’ needs, you should have no problem increasing sales and reaching your competitive advantage.

There are a variety of outlets that enable you to interact with clients and receive feedback on your products / services, customer service, and additional business operations.

Some of the best places to receive feedback from customers and prospects include . . .

Survey Monkey: We use Survey Monkey frequently to receive detailed and highly valuable feedback from our customers and prospects, which enables us to better serve them. This, in turn, allows us to develop services that speak even more to their needs and solves their pain or problem. When you inform customers that the survey is designed to extract feedback that will assist you in better serving them, they’ll be more likely to take the time to answer your questions.

We also love Survey Monkey because it allows business owners to create customized surveys with questions formatted in a variety of different ways, including multiple choice, rating scale, text boxes, demographics, and matrix of choices. Survey Monkey even offers small business owners premade survey templates that are designed to extract valuable feedback on customer service, business practices, and product / service satisfaction.

Social Media: Asking a question on your company Facebook page once a day to facilitate conversation will enable you to receive feedback from your followers. When other customers see these comments on your page, they’ll also be more inclined to join in the conversation and add their two cents. Creating conversation and encouraging interaction among your customers are two of the best ways to get honest and detailed feedback about your brand, product, or service.

Website-Generated Survey: For those with an ecommerce site, the best time to ask clients to fill out a survey is at the end of a transaction. After customers have submitted their order to your company, you can design a page that appears immediately. This page could say something along the lines of “Thank you for your purchase! In order for us to better serve you in the future, we’d love for you to answer a brief survey on our purchasing process.” You could even offer a 25% discount on a next purchase for customers who choose to answer the survey.

When requesting feedback, ask questions that require clients to respond in short phrases. Some questions to ask include:

  • What does our company provide that benefits you?
  • What do you wish we offered?
  • How does our customer service compare to other businesses?
  • In which areas of service could we do better and how?
  • What are you looking for in a (insert your product / service)?

What online tools do you use to discover what clients want?

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