Last week I went to a nice restaurant which has great ambiance and food. Unfortunately an employee who answered a question for us had forgotten to clean his nose, then proceeded to smoke a cigarette somewhere and then sit next to our table, the delicate odor of smoke wafting off his clothing and over to us. He proceeded to talk loudly with a co-worker, while his pants with a ragged hem pulled up to reveal his hairy calves.

Now, in the right context, I don’t necessarily have anything against boogers, cigarettes, loud conversation or hairy calves. But at a nice restaurant, it didn’t fly and I wasn’t planning on returning anytime soon.

However, unlike most of your customers who never complain, they just stop using your products or services, I emailed the restaurant to let them know of my experience (since it’s my mission to help businesses, whether their my clients or not). I received a very nice email back thanking me for the feedback. Apparently that employee will not be working there much longer and she’s sending me a gift certificate. So, guess what? I will be back.

Are YOU aware of the things about your business that are annoying or off-putting to your customers or clients? You won’t know unless you make it part of your mission.

If you’ve been in business awhile, I bet it’s been some time since you really did some research on your target market’s needs and wants. Or possibly, you’ve never done this, in which case there’s no time like the present!

It’s extremely important that you understand your best client’s needs and wants as accurately as possible. Unfortunately, we tend to assume we know. After all, we own a business – we know everything, right?

Remember the ancient saying that those who think they know, don’t know, and those who think they don’t know, know. We all need to recover our “beginner’s mind” and not make assumptions.

Luckily, you can easily conduct your own research, whether through an online survey, mailed surveys or third party phone calls. When you do, I guarantee you will find some golden nuggets you can act on immediately to improve and grow your business.

First ask yourself, what END RESULT do your prospective customers want from:

Your product or service:

Doing business with you:

Next, determine who you will survey:

Suspects

Prospects

Shoppers

Customers

Clients

Advocates

Raving Fans

Former clients

Design a Needs And Wants Analysis Questionnaire. Here are some sample questions:

What do they expect from this type of product or service?

How long have they used this type of product or service?

What has been their experience in the past?

What is their biggest frustration with the products/services they’ve used in the past?

What do they expect from the provider (company) of this service?

What is their past history/experience with other salespeople?

What is their biggest frustration with businesses in this field or area?

What made them choose the type of product or service they currently have?

What made them choose the particular salesperson or company they’re currently with?

What is the most important consideration for choosing this type of product/service?

What is the most important consideration for choosing a sales person or company?

If they had a magic wand and could construct an ideal buying experience, what would it look like?

If they could construct an ideal ongoing client/salesperson/company relationship, what would it look like?

How often would they like to be contacted with new information, or be contacted by their salesperson or company service person?

Do they prefer being contacted by phone, mail, or email?

Do they prefer being contacted at home or at work?

If you’d like to receive some sample surveys, as well as a list of over 80 additional questions you might want to consider, drop me an email and I’ll send them right out to you.

 
 
 

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