How to start a meaningful dialogue with your customers

Posted by Page Grossman on Oct 4, 2017

Let’s take a moment and think about the last conversation you proactively started with your customer. When was it? Why did you reach out? Was it to share a product announcement or an upcoming event? 

My guess is most likely, you reached out to the customer to promote something new. It’s great to keep customers updated and in-the-know about your company, but what then? Your relationship with your customer shouldn’t be just about you and your products. Open your mind to building a personal relationship with your customers — treating them more like human beings than just walking sales.

I’ve put together a list of four tips on how to start a meaningful dialogue with your customers that will help you build a personal relationship with them. These tactics will help you to get past just the sales pitch and talking about the weather.

1. Ask a question

It’s about as obvious as it gets, but we truly believe that one of the best ways to connect with your customers is to just ask them a question.

The importance of communication in showing your customer you care has to be intentional. Often, brands and companies think only of the sale. Instead, think of your customers holistically. Don’t just send them emails asking them to buy something. Instead, find a way to start a conversation with them by asking a question.

The whole point of asking a question is to learn a little bit about your customers, what their needs are, and how you can help them. Your customer pays your paycheck, so you want to make sure that they know they’re important to you and your company. That’s customer service 101.

Asking a question about your brand or the product that the customer is interested in is one way to get the conversation started, but we’ve found that personalized questions are even more successful.

If this makes you uncomfortable, try these on for size:

  • Is the school year off to a good start for you and your family?
  • What problems are you or your business facing right now?
  • How's that new beta product performing?
  • What’s top of mind for your customers these days?

No matter what you ask your customer, you’re showing them that you care about them as an individual person, not just a sale.

2. Ask their opinion

People love to give their opinion. In fact, according to our friends at Zendesk, customer satisfaction survey response rates can be as high as 20% compared to email response rates which hover around 2-3% looking at Mailchimp’s click rate benchmarks. So, why aren’t more companies asking for their customers opinion? Your customers are the experts on how well your business is perceived. Use their expertise!

When you ask for your customers opinion, keep it simple. We recommend that you keep surveys to 1-2 questions. If you’re wanting more in depth feedback, be sure to give them a heads up about how long the questionnaire is and consider offering incentives for them taking the time to fill it out.

There are many types of survey methodology out there that can help you gather feedback. Has everyone heard of NPS yet? It’s become quite ubiquitous in recent years with every company from grocery stores to marketing companies measuring their customers satisfaction with an NPS survey.

If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve likely taken an NPS survey and just not known its name. An NPS survey is one question: “How was your experience? Please rate from 0-10.” That’s it! It’s so simple and yet can provide you with some much information. Feel free to tailor the question to your niche, but keep it simple.

Data provided to you from your customers about your company is invaluable. This data and feedback can be used to improve your products or simply just to keep your ears to the ground. You can learn more about how to turn feedback into action here.

Our final advice: Your customers opinion is how you grow and improve your business. Listen.

3. Interview an expert customer

Who knows your product best? Your customers. So why not interview one of your rockstar customers to get their opinions on your product, learn how they use it, and find out what they think could be improved.

You’re not only getting data about your product and how to make it better through this interview, but you’re also finding out how your customer uses the product. This is great information that you can then turn around and share with the rest of your customers.

You might be addressing a problem that many other customers are facing that you never knew about.

4. Keep the conversation going

Once you’ve connected with these rockstar customers, stay connected. These customers are your promoters. They’re the ones who are passionate about, invested in, and talking up your product. Next time you roll out a new feature, let them be your beta testers.

By making these customers (who already love your business) feel like a part of the team, you are giving them a high-touch, specialized, and personal experience. They feel special, and they are! 

You might also want to create a user group of similar customers so they can meet and interact with one another or even ask them to create some content for your blog, social media, or online community. No matter how you get them involved, identifying, getting to know, and sharing the thoughts of these customers can hugely benefit your business in multiple ways.

No matter how you go about it, you need to make sure that your customers are taken care of and feel heard. These are just a few tips on how to go about that. Let us know in the comments if these strategies have worked for you in the past or if you have other strategies that have worked even better.

We’d love to hear what you have to say. ;) Look at us following our own tips.