Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
This week’s question comes from Mark E., who asks:
I’ve made no secret that talking to customers is a huge priority at Groove. It’s how we grow our business.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
In fact, the reason we’re so adamant about it these days is because of some colossal mistakes in our early days.
We spent six months and $50,000 building a product that was based entirely on our assumptions of what customers wanted and how they wanted their problems solved.
It wasn’t until we launched in private beta that we started getting feedback from customers, and that was when we learned that the product that we built was clunky, overwhelming, and frankly suffered from the same problem we were hoping to solve (that of over-complicated help desk software).
That was years ago, and the way we fixed it was spending the following three months doing pretty much nothing but talking to customers. We learned what their real frustrations were, what they really wanted, and most importantly, we learned the actual language that they used to describe those problems (which was not reflected at all on our earliest website and product).
Those conversations shaped the product that we have today (one that customers actually love), and it shaped the way we talk about the product (and about our customers) in our marketing.
After that experience, we don’t take customer feedback—or investing the time and effort to gather as much of it as we can—for granted.
And so today, it’s something that we do on more than a half-dozen fronts across the organization, including:
- Several members of our team (including myself) blocking off an hour each week to reach out to customers for one-on-one chats to see how things are going, how we can improve and how else we can help them.
- Quarterly NPS surveys.
- Annual customer surveys (these go a lot deeper than NPS, asking questions about everything from the product experience, thoughts on existing features and new feature requests, to asking customers what sorts of sites and blogs they read online (so that we can better understand their interests and create more valuable content for them)).
- Prompting questions from readers/customers on all of our blog posts
- Asking questions in our automated onboarding flow. This is the very first email that goes out to every single new customer as soon as they sign up. It gives us incredible insights into what makes people sign up, as well as what their goals are with the product (which is hugely valuable for customer success).
There’s no shortage of ways to get in front of your customers, and honestly, sending a simple email that says “hey, can we chat?” should be more than enough to get you a few real, valuable conversations.
I hope that this helps, and I’m curious: what are some of the ways that you incorporate customer conversations into your business?
Let us know in the comments.