Let’s imagine a situation where Company A asks an offer from Company B for their services. Company B sends their best possible offer to Company A, but eventually they decide to buy the service that they need from Company C. How often has this happened to you and what did you do?
In this kind of situation you can either leave it or you can take a look at the whole picture and ask yourself where did you possibly go wrong. One option is to ask Company A why they chose to buy from someone else instead. Clearing this out will help you to improve your business and maybe even make Company A return when they notice that you care about your customers’ opinions. So, how do you make such enquiries politely and without getting the other party’s guard up? Here’s how:
Customers are the ones who bring you the profit, not you or your staff. Understanding customers’ needs is essential – not just because they bring the money to the company – but also because it gives you an advantage over your competitors. No one else knows better than customers themselves what they want. And who ever does the best job in listening to their customers wins the market share.
Talking to and thanking customers who bought something from you is important, but asking “why” from the ones who did not buy from you should be at least at the same level. It could be that they did not like the product, price, selection, customer service or maybe you did not interact with them enough. There are a million different reasons, but you cannot know for sure unless you ask. Assuming that one of the aforementioned issues was probably the reason why they did not buy sends potential customers straight to your competitors’ door.
By asking the customers “could you please elaborate what was the reason that made you go for our competitor’s offer instead of us” will help you to meet customers’ needs and improve your own business. Of course, asking ten customers, who decided to not buy from you, and getting ten different answers will not lead anywhere, but if four or six out of the ten customers name the same issue, maybe you should take a look at that particular aspect of your business/offer and think what you could do differently, better. The more satisfied your customers are with your services and products, the more likely it is that they become your loyal customers and recommend you to their colleagues and partners.
So, how should you ask this easy question from the customers who chose to go with the third option instead of your offer? The answer is easy; by asking them for feedback. But this takes time and effort. Also; you need to know how to ask the right questions. You do not want to waste your own or the customers’ time with irrelevant questions, which do not provide you with any further information, and thus risk the chance of getting any responses at all. A good option would be to outsource the feedback process to an external survey company that has the resources to create a survey with relevant questions that fit your company’s needs and make the interviews to the customers who slipped away from you.
You could create your own online survey. Creating an online survey is an easy option for you to set up and analyze, and it gives a chance to the current as well as potential customers to decide when they want/can answer. The survey could be sent to them by email or you can set it up into your website where everyone can complete it whenever they want to give you feedback or explain what qualities they look for in a cooperation partner.
But if you want to ensure a larger number of answers and to reach people directly then phone interviews are a better option. Making a phone call to your customers has higher survey response rate than online surveys, and what would be a better way to find out what your current customers as well as the lost customers think about your company and your ways of doing things than by talking to them? Also, human contact affects how the survey questions are answered and makes the respondents trust you. On the phone you can ask follow-up questions from the respondents, which helps you to get a better overview of their thoughts and ideas. That way you get more detailed responses which can help you to have a clearer idea of how you are doing as a company.
However, all of us know that most of companies do not have enough time to call all the customers that chose to go for another company’s offer instead of yours and sit all day on the phone asking questions. This is the point when research and consulting company steps in and asks the questions for you. Outsourcing the service to specialist in this field saves you time and gives you high quality analyses. All you need to do is to let the specialists do the work for you.