Your summer client listening challenge!

Summer, when most of us manage to carve out some holiday, is a great time not just for recharging, but also reflecting on how things are going and where we want to get to. After all, who doesn’t want to start September with renewed energy, enthusiasm and focus?

And of course, there are also those items on your ‘to do’ list that might have, for whatever reason, found themselves being put off. If client listening is one of them and you’ve been thinking about investing in this valuable activity, asking yourself these questions could well provide you with the direction and conviction you need to get going:

When was the last time you asked your clients for their views?

If it was some time ago, it’s worth gathering more recent insight from clients. The world has changed significantly in the last few years so if your last exercise was pre-Covid, it’s a good idea to revisit your clients’ views on your service and their experience over recent years, and to make sure you have a full understanding of their future challenges.

Is a survey your only method of data collection?

Surveys are great because they’re quick and cheap. But the insight they offer is limited, partly due to low levels of take-up and partly because they’re not designed to collect in-depth qualitative data. If you’re trying to gather detailed insight through a survey, that could be the reason why your take-up level is poor! Keep surveys short and focussed and consider interviews for your strategic clients.

Have you recently undergone a significant change or period of growth in your business?

If you’ve recently gone through a period of change in your business due to merger, acquisition, or divestment of a business area, you need to know how your clients feel about that. Have you inherited clients because of a recent transaction? What was their first impression of you? How was the transition for them? Did they see a gap in service? These are all important issues you need to tackle – and getting answers via interviews shows the value you place on investing in relationships.

Do you know why your long-term clients stay with you and recommend you to others?

Although it’s crucial to find out why clients might be less than satisfied, it’s also vital to know why they keep coming back! This insight is invaluable from a marketing perspective and will attract new clients to your business. It’s not good enough to say ‘I don’t need client listening, I know my clients are happy’. As one former buyer of professional services from a large supermarket chain recently said, client interviews are a ‘hygiene factor’ – i.e. they are expected by clients as a sign of commitment to the relationship.

Do you know where your future growth is coming from?

We all know enrichment and referrals from current clients are more cost-effective methods of increasing sales than encouraging cold prospects through your marketing and sales funnel. But do you know which clients are most likely to buy more from you and recommend you? And how can you create the sort of experiences that will compel them to do so? To drive growth from current clients, you need to understand their view of you and allow them to discuss future priorities and challenges in a space where they don’t feel they’re going to be sold to.

I hope these questions offer some food for thought – and possibly elevated client listening from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘must do’ on your priority list for the ‘new term’.

As ever, do get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

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