When seeking customer feedback, too many companies simply go through the motions, asking questions that won't make the firm's executives feel uncomfortable, according to consultant Andy Hanselman. On the Management-Issues website, he offers the following provocative (and productive) questions:
-- What attracted you to us originally? This gives a glimpse at what appeals to your customers and how you are viewed in the competitive marketplace.
-- What would you do if we weren't here? This gives some insight into the value customers place on your offering. Would they even notice if you weren't available?
-- Can you name one person who has impressed you in our organization? This might surface your customer champions, and unsung heroes. "If they can't name anyone, what does that say about the way your people interact with your customers?" he asks.
-- What one thing could we do better? This delves into their priorities.
-- Why do you buy from us? This highlights your strengths - some of which, he suggests, you may not be aware of.
-- Name one thing that we do or don't do that irritates or annoys you. "This one speaks for itself. The key is doing something about it," he stresses.
-- Who can we learn from? This identifies your customers' role models, which in some cases may be outside your industry and not on your radar to emulate.
-- What is one thing we should never stop doing? Back to priorities, this uncovers what they really value.