In marriage counseling we learn about “active listening.” One partner says, “What I hear you saying is that when I do X, you feel X.” The partner responds either with affirmation or “That’s not why I feel that way at all,” and the couple can get to work. We learn what’s important to each other and how certain actions make the other feel. Ideally, my husband and I can use this to be better partners and communicators.
Client relationships are just that. Relationships. So why do we treat them any differently?
The clearest way to decipher what your clients think and need is to go directly to the source. Nothing gives you a truer picture of your client’s heart. It may sound a little sensitive, but trust me, it needs to be your company’s top priority.
Here are 3 reasons why you should leverage client interviews in your business strategy:
1. People want to be heard.
If you’re a fan of the show Parenthood, you’ll recognize the phrase, “I see you. I hear you.” Nothing is more validating for a client than knowing the company they’re entrusting their budgets (and careers) to is making a proactive, concerted effort to hear their thoughts and vowing to make any possible improvements based on this feedback. All you have to do is ask. It’s win-win for you and your client.
2. Clients open up to experience managers.
Companies typically rely on their sales force to regurgitate client feedback to marketing and product development. All the love to these weekday warriors, but there’s just something about a “sales manager” title that makes clients/prospects shrink back from full transparency. Having a dedicated customer experience representative to reach out to your clients will be a game-changer in how your company interacts with the people you aim to serve.
3. People buy based on emotion. End of story.
You buy from Amazon because it’s easy and you have Prime shipping, sure, but that’s just scraping the surface. The root of why you buy is likely that you feel efficient, empowered, and in good hands. Your clients buy on the way they feel, too. Does your product work? Of course. It better. But do people trust you? Do you make their lives easier? Do you make them feel wise in front of their boss? These feelings will ultimately determine whether they partner with you.
Take the time to invest in hearing straight from the heart of your client. Ask them why they buy, what expectations they have, how they feel you can improve, and what matters most to them. Then react!