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Why We Talk To Our Customers

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In an era of big data and rapidly advancing technology, business owners and managers are inundated with customer data. Great efforts are made directly by companies themselves or through third parties such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, TalkWalker, Yelp, etc. to quantify every touch point a business has with its customers. The goal… to use that data to fine tune your product or service to better meet the needs and wants of the customer. The all too often reality… the data becomes a surrogate for talking to customers. Decisions on how to better meet customer’s needs are based on how they reply to survey questions, buttons they push on your web site or comments left on social media instead of listening to what they are actually saying.

At String, we place high priority on talking to and communicating with our customers. From the very first contact, our focus is on listening to our customers to learn their needs and uncover problems they are facing that we can assist them in solving.  We believe that even if you have the most exceptional product or service, if you do not understand how that product or service fits into the needs of your customer it will likely fail. By maintaining open communication lines and talking to our customer, versus relying on the likes of surveys or online mentions, we have a stronger understanding of where our services fit into the needs of our customers.

Once we understand how our products and services fit the needs of our customer(s), continued communication helps us determine how we are, or possibly are not, meeting their needs. For many, these questions are answered by emailing customers a survey. While we are not saying that surveys do not provide value, especially if you want to measure satisfaction levels across your entire customer base, talking to your customers can uncover actionable information that a survey generally cannot. For us, irrespective of where the customer is in our service spectrum – from pilot stage through to long term, established customers, our on-shore and off-shore operation teams are in frequent communication with our customers either in person, through video conference or by phone. Furthermore, regardless of their day-to-day responsibilities, managers strive to talk to customers at least weekly.

Finally, not only are we talking to customers that are doing business with us, but those that may have stopped doing business with us. While it might be painful to hear, it is this group that can often provide you with immediately actionable information on how to improve your product or service. Along these same lines, asking your customers how they view your competition can provide actionable information. However, this can be a delicate area of discussion and should be approached as such.

We all spend considerable time and money to acquire our customers. While tools like TalkWalker, surveys and Twitter can be of value in keeping customers, talking to them and listening to what they have to say is the most effective way to protect and increase your return on this investment.

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