Most of your customers don’t care about the survival of your business. That’s going to make a lot of entrepreneurs uncomfortable. After all, we’re operating in a competitive global marketplace, and the sheer volume of choice makes us easy to ignore.
If you want to succeed in business today it’s essential to get noticed. But if you’re like most entrepreneurs – you’ve fallen victim to a prevalent misconception.
Many people think that the key to getting noticed lies in giving customers exactly what they want. But while this misunderstanding may be dangerous – It actually makes perfect sense.
People think that giving customers what they want will make them happy. They also think that the fastest way to grow a business is to amass a loyal group of happy customers. After all – happy customers create good publicity, and good publicity attracts new customers to your business like a moth to an open flame (and who doesn’t want new costumers?).
But here’s the harsh truth. When it comes to identifying what makes customers happy – most of your customer feedback is worse than useless.
Why Most Customer Feedback Is Worse Than Useless:
People are obsessed with customer feedback because they think it’s valuable. They’re under the impression that by simply asking the right questions – customers will shine a light on the facets of our business most in need of improvement.
And that’s actually a very reasonable thing to assume – after all, it’s easier to focus our attention when we know what our customers already love about us & what makes them bang their heads against the wall in frustration.
The problem doesn’t lie with the notion of customer feedback itself – but rather the manner in which most people trying to collect it. Yes – I’m talking about the ubiquitous online survey. They’re cheap, they’re easy to set up, and everybody is using them (so they must be working, right?).
Not necessarily – Picture this scenario.
You’ve spent hours crafting meticulously sequenced questions. And sometimes even longer researching what questions to ask in the first place. You’re expecting your email inbox to be flooded with brilliant flashes of customer insight. Insight that will revolutionise your business and hopefully open the floodgates for a sea of new happy customers.
But guess what happens to just about every single one of your carefully thought out surveys? No one takes them… You sit there waiting for something to happen… But it never does. It’s disappointing (but not entirely unexpected).
And here’s why.
People ignore your surveys for the same reason they ignore you – because it’s easy. They don’t care about improving your business as much as they care about themselves. And if you’re ever going to get them to stop ignoring you – you have to offer them an irresistible incentive.
But that’s where things start to go disastrously wrong.
Why Incentives Ruin Your Feedback:
If you think incentives are a good way to get people to do something – you’re right. In fact, there’s nothing more persuasive than the prospect of free stuff (the form most incentives take online these days).
The problem with incentives isn’t that they don’t work – It’s that they motivate entirely the wrong type of action. Giving people free stuff will never make them care more about you (no matter how much of it you give away). And it certainly won’t help uncover honest feedback about your business.
That’s because incentives do not create a sincere desire to help people. In fact, they do the opposite. They appeal to one of the most selfish human desires imaginable – greed.
And that’s bad because the responses you get to your surveys will be nothing more than thinly masked attempts at getting something for free. Rather than a sincere & genuine reflection of what people feel about your business.
In other words, the feedback you get will be worse than meaningless – because it simply isn’t true.
The Scary Truth About Unsolicited Feedback:
Now you’re probably thinking, “If asking for feedback yields insincere results, does that mean that we can only improve our business with unsolicited feedback?” Probably not, and I’ll tell you why.
Positive unsolicited feedback is always a good thing. Not to mention a massive ego boost! – But it also almost never happens. In fact, the only time you get brutally honest unsolicited feedback is when a customer is absolutely furious. And that’s obviously not a good thing.
If people are already happy, they don’t need to tell you about it – because you’ve already given them what they need. But if you’ve made them angry, they’re probably going to feel compelled to shout at you to get their money back, or to get free stuff as compensation.
It’s the self-interest principle at work all over again. People are greedy so their feedback (unsolicited or otherwise) will always be motivated by personal gain or the desire for something free.
So What’s The Solution?
You’ve spent so much time trying to figure out what makes your customers happy, that you’ve forgotten to ask yourself why you want to know the answer in the first place.
The reason is actually pretty simple. People want to know what makes their customers happy because they want to make more money. And they want to make more money because making money is in their own self-interest.
Self-interest is what motivates entrepreneurs. In fact it’s what motivates just about every biological thing in existence. So it comes as no surprise that it’s what motivates your customers as well.
Self-interest isn’t just the driving force that keeps all living things alive. It’s the only reason why customers want to buy stuff from you. Customers buy your products because your products help them achieve their goals. If you can’t deliver on this essential expectation – they will ignore you and find somebody else who can.
It doesn’t matter how many surveys you send out into to the ethers of the Internet. You will never get a more fundamental insight than how important self-interest is to the minds of your customers.
There’s nothing worse than being invisible. Especially when the success of your business relies on being noticed. But by understanding that self-interest is the primary motivating factor in the minds of your customers, you’re one step closer to convincing people that your business deserves attention.
You don’t need to waste your time asking customers what makes them happy, because now you know the answer. And using this newfound realisation as a springboard for your future growth, you should aim to transform yourself into a master of persuasion.
Learn the skills, tools & techniques you need to convince your customers that you, and you alone, are capable of satisfying their desires – so that your business becomes impossible to ignore.