Have you ever interviewed a customer? If not, I urge you to make the effort. You’ll be amazed. Think of a customer you have a relationship with and the next time you finish selling them a service or product, and you’ve had a positive exchange, ask them if they have five minutes to answer a few questions. If you’re new to blogging for your business, this is a great way to build content that also showcases you and the work you do.
If you don’t have high-tech equipment, and are camera-shy, then you can write questions and have them answer them in an email. What you want to do is create an opportunity for your customer to tell their story. Here’s a few examples:
1.Fred, you’ve been customer for what? Five years? And I have sold you a heck of a lot of widgets. Can you tell me what your impressions were when you first came here and what they are now?
2. You’ve remained loyal to me, despite the fact you can likely go somewhere and get a cheaper price–let’s face it, competitor’s have sprung up. What brings you back and what has your experience been with my service over the years?
Don’t back yourself into a corner where the only answer is going to be monosyllabic. Keep it open, and try to help them along with leading questions that are open enough for them to put their own story into the answer: this is critical to using the interview to demonstrate your values, service level, and your level of commitment to your clients.
Another excellent way to record customer experience is to use video. Rich media is the best way to ‘capture’ customer experience because we can relate instantly to the person speaking. Travis Murdock has written a detailed post about shooting customer video. I’ve used a simple Flip camcorder for some time and for beginners, it’s perfect. Just plug in the usb that ‘flips’ out into your computer, upload to your YouTube account and voila, inspired customer story!
I am looking for some new gear to shoot with because the Flip isn’t great for distance, low light, or crowd scenes. One on one, in a relatively controlled environment, it works just fine. It’s a process of finding out what works for you, and just doing it and learning as you go.
I would recommend if you are posting customer stories to the public, to get their written permission. It’s a professional way to ensure you are both on the same page and no one is surprised by seeing their mug online featured on your website!
What underpins the effort of having an interview with your customer is a collaboratory intent. Together you’re shaping your brand–allowing authentic stories from customers on the face of your brand demonstrates, beyond the obvious benefits, that you are engaged. A golden word these days, just ask Brian Solis. Better yet, go buy his book, Engage.