6 reasons for customer interaction

When was the last time you spoke to a customer? If your answer is “Longer than two weeks” you better be on vacation. I’m not just talking to CEO’s here. YOU have to understand your company’s customer. In this blog post I will give you 6 reason why you need to hit the road today and I share the insights I got while doing so for a B2B online store.

Getting out there might seem scary. That’s what I thought when I was driving up to my first customer. Why am I doing this? How will it benefit? What’s in it for them? Then I walked through the door and had a wonderfully insightful day.

1. Every click/bounce/conversion is a person looking for a solution to his or her problem

One of the benefits from the Internet is that it makes virtually everything quantifiable. But hard data can make you forget that every number is someone with a problem they need fixed. It’s someone taking the time to visit your website to see if you can relieve them from their pains or create their gains.

When I asked about our customer’s pains while ordering online, they screamed at me: “We need to log in to every single website and we hate it! We have books full of logins.” This is something our customers shouldn’t have to worry about — logging in is not mandatory. Yet our assumption was that this was clear, so we didn’t communicate it on our website. Voilà, pain reliever.

2. Know thy customer, know thy product

First, when you’re in a face to face situation with your customer, let him or her do the talking. Feedback truly is a gift. The more you keep your lips sealed, the more gifts you will receive. Or as the Dalai Lama once said: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new” (for the record, I didn’t interview the Dalai Lama). Second, assume nothing. Act like a child and keep asking: “Why?” This way your customer will dig deeper and deeper until you finally hit solid truth. That’s what you’re looking for.

I asked our customer to use our product. As it turns out, the 60+ year old man is very digital savvy, however he uses old spelling in our search bar, so he didn’t get any hits and left.

3. Everyone is different

Not every sales rep has the same mind-set. Not every sector has the same hostility. Not every region has the same culture. To really understand your customer, you need to dive deeper into their background. This can give you insights on which you can differ your marketing strategy.

I interviewed two men working the same job in the metal industry in the same town, but with one difference. One supplied the metal industry, the other supplied construction. Two completely different businesses with different needs, even though their processes were very much alike. Find out what grinds your customer’s needs and build something they want to pay for.

4. People love to talk about themselves

When you’re planning to talk to customers, don’t plan your days too tight. People LOVE to talk about their businesses. Staying there an hour or more longer than planned is more of a rule than an exception.

5. “Not everyone needs to be a college graduate”

I bet you’re really smart and want to build the smartest solution out there. “Not everyone needs to be a college graduate” is a sentence that a very inspiring guy said. It basically means that you need to build your UX and UI accordingly. Talking to your customers and asking them to use it with you present, is the only way to find out why they use your product like they do.

6. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

No need for your product? Better find out now and pivot. But trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised with how loving and happy your customers are to help you develop your product. They are working in a business themselves and understand that you need them to improve.

In conclusion

  • Don’t get caught up in metrics
  • Talk to your customers continuously
  • See the differences between your customers
  • Feedback is a gift
  • Research is qualitative as much as quantitative
  • It’s the best feeling in the world to improve your business

If you have any thoughts on this piece, get in touch.