Early in my career, I painfully learned one of those rookie mistakes that ten years later still causes me to cringe. I was assigned to a large account for a developer who was debuting their latest real estate community. To my delight, I was responsible for overseeing the logistics and promotional side of the event. Months were spent in preparation. The event generated press, created a community-wide buzz with record- breaking attendance and private showings were booked. The event was a success. Or so I thought.
Months later, it was disclosed that the event wasn’t as successful as we thought. The developer had hoped for a more collaborative, educational experience and this was more important to him than the actual results of the service. The moral of the story: Never assume to know what matters most to your target audience. Always, ask.
The same can be said of your marketing preferences with your customers. Rather than bombard or erk an otherwise healthy customer, take the time to ask: What do your customers really want? This differentiator can make or break customer relationships. And had I thought to ask this sooner, I could have salvaged a customer experience gone bad.
As a start-up, you don’t have a massive healthcare marketing budget to devote to in-depth market research, “mystery” shoppers, focus groups, much less purchase sophisticated customer satisfaction software. At the same time, you can appreciate the role marketing and the “voice of the customer” has as a growth engine in accelerating business growth. Throw the branded phone scripts away and start leveraging customer feedback loops today.
By introducing feedback loops in your business practice, you can identify, rather than assume where your marketing efforts are resonating and falling short for your target audience. This helps drive better business decisions. Here’s three steps to better understanding your customer.
Step 1: Initiate a feedback loop
You can’t fix problems, you don’t know you have. Depending on your organization and how a customer interacts with your products or service, this can take on various shapes and forms. For example, if your customer has an annual contract, then a periodic online survey that is administered every couple of months will be more impactful than a transactional one.
Considering launching a new product? Start by finding out what your current customers like, dislike and how you stack up to the competition.
Just launched a new website? Use a survey to discover how you can optimize your online experience for the folks who matter the most.
Curious about your word of mouth or referral strength? Discover customer sentiment and willingness to recommend your business with a single question: “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to refer a friend or colleague?” using the Net Promoter Score method.
Step 2: Learn from the feedback
Embrace the spirit of agility. Perhaps you’ve received feedback from your NPS score that it’s difficult to understand your product process or how you compare to a similar product. This is ripe opportunity to evaluate and quickly adjust your messaging. Start by sharing the results with the appropriate team members. You may learn that additional customers have voiced a similar concern, but there wasn’t a mechanism for capturing this type of data. These powerful customer insights will help determine how everyone from frontline sales reps to marketing support teams might intervene to help boost lead generation.
Step 3: Lather and rinse.
Just as your needs change, so do your customers. The best way to ensure business growth is to focus on the customer experience. Relentlessly. By taking the time to ask what they really want and by addressing it, you’ll be rewarded with loyal and engaged customers that will spur business growth.