Independent Customer Interviews Can Provide the Eye-opening Insights You Need to Grow
Sure, a lot of consumer-based business owners (think restaurants, plumbers, dry cleaners, etc.) can glean the hard truth from their google and yelp reviews, but what if you’re a B2B company that doesn’t have a similar rating system or customer service department that fields complaints?
If your customers aren’t comfortable giving candid feedback directly to their sales rep or delivery person, you could be taking your business on the wrong trajectory without even knowing it.
You as the business owner can do your own customer surveys, but when it comes directly from the business, even if there’s a promise of anonymity, people still don’t trust it because you own the data. They think you can certainly figure out who said what. So what do you do instead? Hire a Fractional CMO (fCMO) to be that independent third-party listener.
5 Reasons Unbiased Third-party Interviews Make a Difference
Your customers feel safe. They really tend to relax and put their guard down when they have someone say, ‘This is as candid a conversation as you allow it, we’re just here to listen. We won’t tell anyone who said what, we’ll simply aggregate quotes into overall trends. Our client won’t know who said what.’ Not only do they feel more comfortable saying what’s been on their mind after hearing that, but they’ll also sometimes tell you what others have said about your company. While not all gossip is valid, it might reveal something important that needs to be addressed.
Your customers openly reveal their true needs, goals, and pain points. You offer a product or service, and you often aren’t sure it’s quite a match to your customers’ needs. Asking the right questions pulls those details out so you can confirm or challenge your preconceived notions about what you offer. And that allows you to then tweak your offering to fit their needs.
Your customers help identify open holes in the market. My favorite part of interviewing is when a client’s customer says something to the effect of, “I really want X, and no one in the market is offering it.” Those little ‘a-ha’ moments can be what turns your business in the right direction with an added product or service, or it can inform you to simply tweak your messaging and promotional efforts to point out the fact that you do, indeed, offer that.
You build better rapport with your customers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client’s customer tell me, “I love that they’re doing this. It really shows that they care about what customers think.” Just the simple act of having a third party gather facts independently really impresses people, and helps build affinity for your brand.
Your customers help us marketers to better define your buyer personas.This point is really for your marketing team’s benefit in that they’ll get more insights into what makes their customers tick. That will inform how they communicate going forward.
What does the interview process look like?
We start with your end goal. What is the root issue you want to solve? Put it in the form of a question. Some examples:
Why did our sales decrease last year when all the typical market factors remained the same?
Should our next evolution in our product include A or B, or something else altogether?
Is our product built originally for Europe also a market fit for the US?
Why have so many customers moved to our competitors?
What keeps our potential customers from buying from us?
I work with you to develop a list of questions.
You identify key customers you’d like to get information from, and ask them if they’d be willing to be interviewed by a third-party company.
I interview the customers and deliver a report outlining the top themes I consistently heard from your customers along with their anecdotal quotes that reflect those themes.
You take those insights and rework your marketing strategy (and possibly your business strategy) to reflect your customers’ core needs in a unique way to the rest of the market.
These types of interviews are critical to putting your business in the right direction, so reach out if you need my help! - KRyanoutloud Marketing—Your Fractional CMO