After the Customer Interview, Turn Feedback into Action
Conducting interviews with your customers can be an eye-opening experience. For instance, one of our clients shared how they used interview findings to save and greatly improve a relationship with one of their enterprise customers. In fact, customer interviews helped them turn around a few struggling accounts. These tactical wins stood out to our client as unexpected benefits from their program.
Later in the interview, our customer also described their strategic goal of becoming a “customer-driven organization.” They want to use customer insights to position themselves in the market favorably and to make sure they engage their customers with an “empathetic” approach. They defined a tactical win by saving a few accounts and they also explained their strategic goal with customers. The two go together, and in the long-term, their small wins will build up to help them reach that broader goal.
Post Customer Interview, Turn Feedback into Action
Part of an effective action-planning process is to gather information to help determine the most productive actions. Here are three steps to turn customer feedback into action.
- Use debriefs to dissect the opportunity to find weak links in your process that lead to unintended consequences with buyers. Stakeholder meetings deliver those details from the buyer and staff on a silver platter, so you all can DO something! It’s up to all of you to solve “it” but now you’ll know what “it” is! For example, following a call with one of our clients, the contact filled us in on some of the internal strife they have been dealing with when figuring out why they lose deals. The sales team would always cite features and functionality that the product was lacking which caused the loss, while the product team would blame the sales team for not selling the existing product correctly. So, who was right? Based on feedback, both departments received some action items for areas of improvement.
- Assign specific action items to various stakeholders because of the feedback gathered in the interview. Ultimately you want to expand the relationship with your customers by offering new services based on the feedback, and continually identifying a solution for existing concerns that will be used to benefit customers. For instance, a sales executive socialized lessons learned in a discovery session with all people who would have touches with the client, including service and support people. This helped convince the customer that our client truly was the right partner for them, and that our client was united as a company in its desire to better service the customer.
- Turning strategies into tasks is critical to make intelligence actionable, and here’s how to do it: think of bigger problems (we’re losing business) in terms of the pieces (our sales demo is horrible!). Do this by asking, what are the smallest possible parts of the big picture? Address each one separately. As an example, on a call, our client wanted to make sure his team could act on the debrief findings. He requested help reducing the “very big things” into small, manageable takeaways. For him, bigger takeaways are interesting, but can be hard to adopt. His audience needs specific and simple action items.
Increased revenue, saving existing relationships, and applying the key learnings towards future opportunities should be the result of actionable intelligence gathered during customer interviews. No one likes to lose, but in sales it is going to happen. Instead of looking around for someone to blame, the key is to gather as much information as possible about why you lose and then apply those learnings to future opportunities. If done correctly, the improvements made because of the feedback should help to reduce the number of losses that happen.You can continue to lose deals for the same reason or you can act now to mitigate these disadvantages and give yourself a better shot in the future. Click & Tweet!
Learn more about customer interviews in our eBook, Why Win Loss Analysis: When You Know More, You Win More.
Want more client stories? Read our case studies to see how clients just like you are gaining valuable actionable intelligence from customer interviews.