I was in the board room of a former colleague who ran a small local business selling retail equipment to property companies. As a friend I came in to support and offer a few hours consulting work on how to turn their B2B client relationships into a strategic advantage.
We took this time to work through the honest reflection of where they were in their customer relationships against growth. We looked closely at their services and the questions they had previously asked their customers. Looking more closely at their questions I could tell these were stock questions from a survey template they pulled somewhere. Like many organisations there was a more important question missing.
It's a question that many disguise with indirect questions of 'what would you improve?' or 'what would you rate your experience of X?" both helpful questions to draw out potential opportunities, challenges or concerns but what about the question...How are we doing? In areas of trust, care, value, experience and results.
Very few people create their customer survey's, internal and external reviews around what I call the '5 customer success windows'. Why? because these questions open up multi perspectives of what your customers actually care about, how they perceive this with you and the reflection on your relationship with them.
These are also challenging questions to frame and in some cases measure. With this particular organisation we began to explore each of these five windows as an internal set of questions to challenge assumptions of trust, care, value, experience and results. It became more and more evident that they were missing fundamental truths about the health of their client relationships and where they could make meaningful change and profitable advances. The power in the answers can completely and positively change the way you work with and engage with your customers.
I always start with the exercise of asking the question to yourself before crafting communication with your customers. Below are a few extended questions per section you might explore this week and consider in your next customer survey. Start with.
How are we doing in...
Trust - How and in what ways do we intentionally build trust with our customers? How do we know trust is growing between us?
Care - How do we demonstrate we care in our current communication and engagement with our customers? How reflective is this of what our customers say they experience?
Value - How relevant and timely is the value we share and how do we know what it is impacting our customers?
Experience - How do we know the experience our customer gets across our business is supporting and accelerating our relationship and not hindering it?
Results - How are the results we produce for our customers changing and impacting their business and our relationship?
Once you've gone through those questions Share these ideas with your team or departments. Do these match up with their experience? Evaluate what you might do differently in those areas to improve them but before you execute them put out in a survey to your customers. You then have a reference point to evaluate potential blind spots, see ways you can add even more value and make the right changes that bring about greater customer results.
The reality is those companies today who refuse to get vulnerable and ask the hard questions often end up experiencing the hard reality of customer churn and average results.
If you're interested in knowing more about this exercise and how to begin to turn your B2B customer relationships into a strategic advantage then get in touch or message me on LinkedIn and we can arrange a time to talk.
Your Customer Growth Guide