Turbulent times are ahead for all businesses, and it’s critical more now than ever to know where you’re misstepping with your customers. If you’re a small business owner, you’re most likely not capturing enough ACTIONABLE customer feedback.
Today we’re going to talk about the RIGHT way to get feedback that can move the needle for your business.
Acquiring actionable feedback requires a deep understanding of who it’s coming from. For example, you’ll want to know the age of the person, education level and what they do for a living. Also look at any other personal traits that qualify them or disqualify them as your ideal customer avatar. Feedback from the 35-year-old man for a business focused solely on women is irrelevant. That’s an extreme example but it points out how avatar alignment can make or break what you’re capturing.
Equally important is what you’re asking them and why you’re asking it. This is where most business owners go off the rails. Your customer feedback should be centered around the negative and positive within the lifecycle stages. Here’s how most subscription or service businesses should break their lifecycle stages down:
Lifecycle - Positive/Negative
- Attraction - buy/didn’t buy
- Immersion - on-track/off track
- Retention - enamored/churned
Attraction is your top-of-funnel activity. You’ll want to talk to people who didn’t buy as well as ones that are brand new to your service. In another post, we’ll talk about how to capture this feedback, but for today I’ll suggest you do interviews versus surveys.
The Attraction interviews are 100% centered around understanding the buyer's journey. When did the prospect first think about needing your service? How many times did they think about it before reaching out? How did they find you? What emotion did they feel when they first talked to you or your team? Why did they buy from you, or why didn’t they?
You’ll want to dig to understand what parts of the Attraction Journey your business nails, and what parts can go off course. If you are having problems getting enough leads and converting them, dig in deep to your customer feedback here. These interviews should be done with people that have just gone through the Attraction phase and made their decision within the last 30 days. That way they’ll be innately aware of their purchase feelings.
Immersion is the timeframe in which your new customer is determining if there’s enough gym membership value in your service to stay or leave. It will vary depending on the type of service. But for the sake of this post, we’ll say that your subscription service has 45 days to get the new customer bought in.
This interview should focus on your new customers in that time period who veered off course, as well as the ones who are buying into exactly what you offer. As you gather customer feedback, try to uncover what made them believe in your service. Or on the flip side, what made the new buyer lose that fire that brought them into your doors to begin with.
At what points did they feel fear vs reassurance, or trust vs doubt? And what specific interactions made them feel this way? If you have leads coming in and signing up but people are not sticking, this is where your priority should be.
Retention interviews are the most difficult ones as they’ll make you smile with accomplishment or feel like you failed. On the positive side, these interviews will be with your best, long-term gym members that are highly-engaged. On the negative side, it will be with the ones who once were highly engaged but left for greener pastures.
You’ll want to uncover what is amazing about your service and what needs improvement. Search for synergies between the positive interviews that you can amplify as well as within the negative interviews that you can shore up.
This stage is all about the following customer feedback:
- Quality of service
- Speed of delivery
- Timely and relevant communication
- Engagement to events or offers
- Pulling out the feelings of why they’re still a patron or what feeling did they have when they canceled
Every customer has an end of the journey with your business so I suggest every owner should perform this level of an interview. The goal is to try to extend the length of engagement as long as possible.
Pro Tip: Did you know you can automate review requests from your members? Book a demo with the PushPress Grow team today to find out more!
In Summary: Capture Relevant Customer Feedback
In my next post, I’ll outline how to do each of these interviews. For now, I’ll share one piece of advice for kicking off customer feedback interviews of your own immediately.
Don’t settle for an answer without emotion. In one of the most recent interviews I did with a new PushPress client, “Jim made me feel understood as a gym owner, and led me to trust what you guys say and what you do.” Hearing this statement and seeing the look on the interviewee’s face further cemented the direction of who we hire and how we go to market as an organization.
This is why simple surveys don't cut it for actionable lifecycle feedback. After all, both of these are a “yes.”
Want to read more from Nick and PushPress CEO Dan Uyemura? Head over to the “Oh Shit... My Gym Is A Business?!” blog now!