3 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You … Unless You Ask

marketingWhen it comes to driving your business, you want to have two magical things happen:

  1. You want your customers to become even better customers
  2. You want those customers to tell people about you.

This magical one-two punch is what grows your business without inflating your expenses. But to get a handle on those two things requires you get the answers to three things your customers won’t tell you … unless you ask. Read on to discover the three questions that will reveal what you need to know to boost your bottom line.

#1 – Why Do You Enjoy Being My Customer?

Customers continue to do business with you for a number of reasons (good rates, great service, strong rapport), but it’s rare that they’ll volunteer this information without being asked. So ask them.

Find out what you’re doing right, and you can do two things:

  • Do more of the things they like
  • Discover patterns (what multiple customers/demographics like best)

Get the goods on this question, and you can turn your current customers into do-more-business-with-you customers.

#2 – What Else Do You Wish My Business Did?

Customers don’t just get products/services from you – they get other products/services before, during and after their transactions with you. Don’t miss this chance to cash in. Find out what else they want, and discover how you can give it to them:

Either way, it’s a chance to tap into more revenue, potentially at a minimum of effort on your part. But you gotta ask.

#3 – Who Should You Tell About My Business?

People like doing business with you. And chances are high that they know others who would benefit as well … but they won’t volunteer this info off the top of their heads (most of the time). So make it networking with future clients easier by offering incentives like the ones you’ll find here.

Give people a good enough reason to spread the word about you, and they surely will. And when your good name becomes a standard of excellence that attracts new customers to you, the effort you put into creating it is money in the bank.

And that’s just good business.

What Questions Will You Ask Your Customers?
Take a quick second and add your great ideas to the conversation. I’ll see you there.



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  1. says

    Hi Jon! Thanks for your comment at StylishLabs and thanks for submitting your wonderful blog. We really think it’s great, I have chcked some of your articles and I found them really relevant, we’ll find the way to include FreelanceFolder in The Creative District

    Limitless ∞

  2. says

    I belive that the main thing should be always remembered – the customer is your employer, he is the real person who pays you the sallary and he should be treated in appropreate way.

  3. says

    Dave…excellent post. We’ve worked with clients in the past on delivering consistent, valuable information to clients on a regular basis. If they do that, working in the above questions to clients becomes much easier. Great stuff!

  4. says

    Dave – I think that people who are excellent at satisfying their customers are unaware that they are always enhancing their level of customer satisfaction. You’re blog is right on, as it asks for that critical feedback on which to explore more opportunities.

  5. says

    Simple, but good advice. So many companies act like they don’t want to talk to their customers, and I find it unfortunate. The good news is that it leaves a lot of room for a scrappy customer-focused company to come in and get a foothold.

  6. says

    Good advice, however in todays game of endless politics, you cannot always be expected to be told the truth. You really need to know the person before asking. If they do not normally express themselves freely, you will not get an honest answer. It could do more harm than good.

  7. says

    Great post. I think it’s also worth asking the opposite to get some useful insight from your trusted customers:

    1) What do you dislike about our service?
    2) What are you glad my business doesn’t do?
    3) Who isn’t going to be interested in my services?

    These questions give your customers a chance to complain and bad-mouth the competition which often helps loosen their tongues, giving you even more cheap market research.

  8. says

    This article is really helpful..^^ Although I agree with Andy but still it’s ok to ask your customers what they really think about your business and service. By asking them, you will also show your customers that you care about their opinions.

  9. says

    @Joy: Yeah, I didn’t mean anyone should ignore Dave’s original questions.

    I think that asking the essentially the same thing but framed from an opposite point of view can help get to the information we’re all looking for. Or maybe it’s just that businessmen in Leeds are particularly obstreperous ;-)

    Again, kudos to the article author for an excellent talking point.

  10. says

    Great post. I agree. In general fostering communication is great because it clears and ambiguities and assumptions you may make. Talking to the customer to find out what they want and need is of utmost importance. Another thing I find is that people can have false assumptions about who you are and what you do.

  11. says

    Great article. Its important to deliver what your customer needs. Happy customers means more happy customers. Get to know the person behind the product. Collecting data like that not only will you meet some great people but you will also know what kind of people are coming to your site who you should target.

    Great Job Like it

  12. says

    Something I have never considered, we are so busy asking the question, what are we not doing, instead of what else can we do, great read

  13. says

    You can easily survey your customers if you have them on an e-mail list. Then with the click of a mouse you can direct them to SurveyMonkey.com or any other survey service and get the answers you’re asking for. You’ll save a lot of time, and can focus on doing the things you love about your business. Here is a great report on how to create an e-mail list.

  14. says

    I’d like to hear *how* people ask these questions. I have some ideas, but I’d like to hear what other have used regularly and why.

  15. says

    Great questions, but I would include the opposite. Asking about what they liked serves a great purpose, but asking what they don’t like helps improvement. It is all about improvement. You can improve greatly if you know your weaknesses.

  16. says

    Great Blog! So many companies fail to ask what the customer wants! I think that every company should incorporate some type of newsletter or opt-in email list to follow up with their customers. :)

  17. Angelee says

    I’ve read longer articles about “Customers” but I like this one better. Brief, concise and easy to grasp for real marketing implementation. “PROBING” is one great key so that we know what our customers would want more from us.

  18. says

    Awesome! I was just scrolling down to comment on what an excellent and to-the-point post this was when I saw the author. I’m not at all surprised – you consistently deliver amazing work, Dave. Keep it up!

  19. says

    Good read, nice and straightforward. I like that in a freelance article. I especially like the question, “What Else Do You Wish My Business Did?” I am going to start asking my clients, past and present, this question and then I will have a better idea of what new technology I can experiment with and use to develop my business.

  20. says

    This has shed some light on the matter for me definitely and I intend to use this in the future. Well done a very simple and concise post. Looking forward to learning more from reading your blog.

  21. says

    Dave, excellent post! I’d like to know what my client’s budget is and how much they have been quoted for from other freelance web designers. :))

  22. says

    These are three straight to the point questions that every business owner should ask each of their clients. Most businesses have no idea why their customers buy from them. Knowing these answers helps you serve your customers better.

  23. says

    At the end of each year we send a out a smll ten question survey to all our clients. The servery helps us get a better understanding of not only who our customers are but how we can better server them.

  24. says

    I would recommend a long term approach. Treat the client as you would like to be treated including spending time to listen to their concerns and explaining your service to them in detail that they can understand.

    Finally, do not be afraid to ask them to spread the word. Many times they will not know you want them to do that unless you ask.

  25. says

    Every time I creat an image in my head when I have to deal with customers: how I want to be treaded when I am a customer.And that works cause I know how I feel when I’m treaded well as a customer and when I’m not. I try to please them at every step.

  26. says

    Some customers might be reluctant to volunteer such information when presented with the question “What else do you wish my business did?”. This is a great article, but I think you can take it one step further and get real, non-sugarcoated information if you allow users to submit a confidential form online. I think people are more inclined to give better feedback that way.

  27. says

    When companies get big they seem to forget about the customer experience. For start ups, it is so important to focus on customer satisfaction since the brand is unknown and the best advertising tool is word of mouth. Once the business becomes well known, the brand will begin to sell itself but that doesn’t mean that you let up on customer satisfaction. So many large corporations are playing clean up on with their customer service experience because they finally figured out how much money they were loosing by “forgetting about” their customers. Start out with excellent customer satisfaction and keep it that way, no matter how annoying those customers are.

  28. says

    After reading your post, as a customer I now learned that the customers always have the right to complain for bad services of some businesses in any kind of industry.
    And as a customer, I won’t wait for the seller to ask things about their products rather to say my what aspects their products contributed to my daily life…


  29. says

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of 3 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You … Unless You Ask | FreelanceFolder . Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  30. says

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of 3 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You … Unless You Ask | FreelanceFolder . Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  31. says

    Nice artical. I always ask my customers these questions too. Another question I always ask my customers before we get started with work it whats your budget. Its quite a brave question to ask some of the time but it can save wasting alot of time and helps you meet the customers needs better.

  32. says

    Good advice, however in todays game of endless politics, you cannot always be expected to be told the truth. You really need to know the person before asking. If they do not normally express themselves freely, you will not get an honest answer. It could do more harm than good.

  33. says

    I agree with the above. There are also many other things that you won’t know unless you ask. But these 3 are the most obvious and i’ll sure be going back to ask my customers these things. Especially since I am now in the position of trying to expand to new employees. Cheers.


  1. […] Ask your customers. October 2, 2007 9:11 pm Larry Uncategorized Yes I know that Doug Hall of Eureka! Ranch said that the best way to grow revenue was to find new customers. But it probably doesn’t hurt to understand what you are doing right by asking your current customers. From FreelanceFolder, here are three things your customers won’t tell you unless you ask them: […]

  2. […] Three Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You Unless You Ask offers excellent advice to help you improve your business and relationship with your clients. Here are the three things from the Freelance Folder entry and I add a fourth because it ensures your business receives effective testimonials: […]

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