Ask your clients for feedback

by Sonja Jefferson on May 25, 2011

Are you looking for clarity on what you do? Everyone talks about knowing what your customers want and putting their needs at the heart of your business, so how about talking to them directly?

Ask people why they engage your services, what problems you solve and the benefits you bring. Check what they like about your service and what they think you could improve on. What makes you different or special in their eyes?

And the most powerful questions of all? Ask them to describe the challenges they face (the ones that you and your product or service can solve. And ask them how they would describe what you do (you’ll be amazed at what you get back).

6 reasons why asking for direct feedback makes sense

When we’re asked to write a case study, craft a marketing message, or start a new content marketing project we always seek feedback from the company’s clients and customers. Here is why this makes so much sense:

  1. Your buyers are the best people to tell you what you do. There’s nothing more powerful in marketing than the ability to see your company through your customers’ eyes. Often what you think you’re good at is not where the real benefit lies. This will give you a whole new perspective on what you do.
  2. People like to be asked. Contrary to what you may think, most clients and customers really welcome your request. They want to tell you how they feel about your work and what would make the process even better for them in the future. Simply asking them makes them feel valued.
  3. They’ll tell you how to market to people like them. Your customers know how they want to be communicated with and what information they like to receive. Ask them, and they’ll tell you honestly. They’ll show you where to focus your marketing efforts in the coming year.
  4. You’ll get testimonials for your website. Positive feedback means valuable testimonials for your website. Most clients are happy to give you a testimonial after a successful project, but they find it difficult and time consuming to craft one. This process will ensure you get meaningful quotes without too much effort on your clients’ behalf.
  5. You’ll get ideas for your content. Listen to them describe their challenge and ideas for valuable content will come flooding out. Answer their questions through your blog posts, guides, newsletters, videos, tweets. Use their words to frame your content.
  6. It will boost your confidence. I’ve conducted this process for many business owners this year and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Any criticism has been wholly constructive. It’s a hard slog running a business and glowing feedback is a welcome boost, particular in these uncertain times.

Too many marketing messages are made up in the boardroom. Don’t conjure up your value proposition in a vacuum: involve your clients in the process.

Getting someone independent or unconnected with the project to conduct this research often works best. Clients tend to be more open and honest if they talk to someone who wasn’t involved (and it’s less uncomfortable for you).

Select five to ten of your top clients or customers; structure your list of questions in advance; pick up the phone and record their answers verbatim.

You’ll be amazed at the value of the information you get back.

Further reading:

For a bit of enlightenment on the client perspective, have a look at Sonia Simone’s fantastic article ‘50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew’.

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Sonja Jefferson

Sonja Jefferson is a consultant, writer and founder of Valuable Content. She helps good businesses to create and share great content so they win the business they deserve.

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Make your offer crystal clear | Teeming
June 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

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