Ask Your Customers the Tough Questions

What is the most valuable, and and yet underutilized resource in your business?

For most small businesses, it is your customers – and what they will tell you if you ask them properly.

If you believe this to be true – as I do, then the challenge is determining the best questions to ask them (and then doing so).

The Easy Questions to Ask Your Customers

  • Are you pleased with our service?
  • How can we serve you better?
  • Is it alright if I get back to you on that?
  • Why do you do business with us?
  • What would it look like if we hit the ball out of the park for you on this project?

We’ve all asked these questions. Why?  There’s very little risk – and naturally, very little reward too.

The Tough Questions to Ask Your Customers

  • Would you pay more for a better product?
  • What do our competitors do better than us?
  • What would you do differently if you were the owner of my business?
  • How are we really doing?
  • If you couldn’t work with our company, who would be your next choice?
  • Have you ever considered doing so?  Why? When?
  • Is there anything else?

If you really want to make the most of these tough questions, you have to be prepared to wait for the answers – being completely silent while your customer prepares, and then finally delivers the equally tough response.

Your Best Customers Will Tell You The Truth

Your best customers want you to succeed – both for their benefit and yours.  So why aren’t you taking advantage of the opportunity by asking them the tough questions that will give you the information for accomplishing that?

#1 – You don’t have the guts.  This is understandable and a personal decision.  It’s also one that is preventing you from learning what you need to know for moving your business forward.

#2 – You know they may not give you the truth.  This is also understandable. However, if you ask the right questions in a personal, face-to-face situation, you can read the body language to get much of the truth.

#3 – You will indeed get the truth!  All the more reason to ask.

People are smart – both you and your customers. However, our society conditions us to play safe. That’s a surefire formula for mediocrity – and possibly failure.

You’ve heard it before:  “You won’t know unless you ask.”

So, why aren’t you asking?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+