There are many reasons to conduct client research. You may want strategic insights before rebranding, a targeting strategy for the launch of a new product or an assessment of the client experience. Even for business as usual, a periodic check in with clients can reveal important action items and reassure them that you listen. It’s always helpful to know what you can be doing better.
However, as an expense without a measurable ROI, client research can slip to the bottom of the priority list. And many business managers are reluctant to intrude on clients’ time or fear calling their attention to a potential problem, so on the list it remains.
But if you want to truly meet your clients’ needs, you need to know what they are. And the best way to get that information is to ask. Here are some tips for conducting quick and effective client research that will help make your clients feel valued.
Lead with your appreciation. Let clients know you’re always working on serving them better and you care about their opinion. Demonstrate thankfulness for their time.
Be brief. No one wants to spend lots of time filling out surveys. Ask only the questions you need to ask. If you’re not going to do something with the answer, don’t ask the question. Have co-workers take your survey or rehearse your questionnaire in advance to time how long it takes.
Be quantitative and qualitative. You need a mix of questions to get both measurable responses and the rationale for what clients are telling you.
Show your thanks. Your high-net-worth or business clients may not need a Starbucks gift card, but you need to acknowledge their efforts. A charitable donation in the client’s name is always a nice idea.
Leverage the results. Whether you learned something new or confirmed what you believed, after conducting client research you’re more informed. Use your findings to re-evaluate your website content, marketing communications, and product and service offerings to deliver what your clients really want. And be sure to let them know that you listened.