Yes. The business needs happy customers but their ability to educate you on how to explode your business is limited. This is because of a couple of reasons. First, knowing why a customer chose your company is key in being able to satisfy this customer as well as being able to find new customers. Unfortunately, “why” is typically an emotional response. It is frequently difficult for a customer to give you an accurate description of those emotions. Yes, they will tell you something about why they are your customer but their description is frequently more of a rationalization than their true “why.” You can still discover their “why” but you may need to be more circumspect. Ask questions like, “What problem led you to need our product?” or “What was your process in deciding with company to purchase from?”
Second, your existing customers’ “why” may have nothing to do with your prospective customers’ “why.” Your existing customers may be attracted to your service but you are losing customers because of lacking certain features. Understanding those who love you will help you retain their satisfaction and will help you reach other customers who have similar needs and tastes but at some point you will saturate your reach in like-minded customers.
Third, happy customers frequently can’t suggest what to change. They are happy. Don’t change a thing. Unfortunately, you may not be happy with your sales trend.
Unhappy customers, on the other hand, are much more able to explain why you didn’t meet their needs. They will tell you, frequently in excruciating detail, exactly how you failed. They are also more likely to have suggestions on what to change. Careful. Just about everyone will tell you to lower prices and have more options. While you don’t want to discount the need for reviewing your pricing structure and line architecture, understand that these are the two most common suggestions. Dig another level down and find other suggestions.
Unhappy customers also have another advantage. You did something right to make them a customer once. Getting that initial purchase can be the most expensive part of marketing, so the required change may be relatively easy to make.
The hardest insights to gather, even harder than from happy customers, is understanding the “why” of the customer that never happened. You can not analyze the purchase that didn’t happen. You can not have follow up customer service calls to the contact that was never made. That is why unhappy customers make me happy. I can reach these customers and they will help me understand how to make more of them happy.
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