Are you providing a product or service that addresses a problem or concern of your customer?
Do you make it easy for your customer to buy?
Do you try to engage your customer in a conversation:
- What's driving you to buy our product?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Have you used our product before?
- How's our service?
- What can we do to improve our product or service?
A lot has been written recently about how customers don't want to have a relationship with a brand. A brand is not a person.
I believe customers do want to have a relationship with a representative of the brand. Someone with whom they can share a comment or suggestion and know that it will be heard and acted upon.
Typically, the people interacting with your customers are your employees.
Do you encourage your employees to engage customers in a conversation to learn more about their needs and wants? What they're happy with and what can be improved?
Your customers probably don't want to talk to you because you've shown no interest in talking to them.
They may have no emotional connection to your brand and don't care whether you succeed or not.
You may send them a customer satisfaction survey or mine their sales data, but have you, or your employees, had a conversation with them?
People like to do business with people they know, like and trust.
People also don't care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.
This is done person-to-person, not by analyzing data.
This is how you build an emotional connection between a customer and a brand.
This is a function of having empathy and being sincerely concerned about why the customer is buying your product versus your competitors -- B2B or B2C.
In an Harvard Business Review blog, Matt Dixon and Lara Ponomareff wrote about, "Why Your Customers Don't Want to Talk To You."
They use examples of customers who go straight to kiosks at airports rather than to empty ticket counters and banking customers that bank online or go to ATMs rather than into the bank to interact with a teller as examples of customers not wanting a relationship with a company.
I do both of these things, as well as use the self-service check-out at my grocery store because it's more convenient for me.
I also realize it's more convenient for the vendor to serve me with technology rather than a real person.
However, if I didn't already have a relationship with the airline, the bank or the grocery store, I don't think I'd trust their alternative distribution channels. I certainly wouldn't be familiar with them, they'd be less convenient to use and I likely would not use them -- it would no longer be the most efficient way for me to do what I need to get done.
Customers want relationships with brands and product and service providers on their terms. They want to be able to talk with a real person with some knowledge and authority if they have a question, suggestion or complaint.
The customer wants what they want when they want it and it's up to the service provider to figure out what it is.
Empower your employees to find out what your customers and prospects want to know and how they want to find out about it.
By finding out how different customers want to learn about your products and services, you'll be able to differentiate and segment your customers thereby providing them more information of value that's relevant to them.
You must provide your customers the options they want to keep them satisfied. If you don't, they will find someone else who will.
In order to understand your customer's needs and wants, you need to have a relationship with them so you'll be able to fulfill their needs on an ongoing basis.
If customers don't want to talk to you, it may be because they don't have a need right now, or they're pressed for time. However, they are not saying they never want to talk to you or give you feedback.
Don't ever stop trying to have a relationship and dialogue with your customers. Don't stop trying to gather real customer insights.
Be there for your customer when they're ready to talk. If you're not, they'll go to someone who is.