It's a relatively easy thing for a company to say that it is customer focused. It's quite another to truly understand your customer's needs.
When was the last time you spoke directly with any of your customers in an effort to understand them and listen to their concerns?
In what scenarios, and using what methods, do you seek feedback from your customers?
It's easy to get bogged down in the day to day operations of running your business and forget that the only reason you are in business is because of your customers. Your business exists because of the relationship that you have with your customers. The benefits of gaining first hand insights into your customers cannot be understated. The important point to note is that you seek customer insights without any expectation of a transaction on either side. Your purpose is to seek understanding and to grow the business relationship between you. And this is most effective when conducted in a non-threatening manner.
To be effective, it is often appropriate to use a number of channels to seek customer feedback. For example, written surveys or phone interviews; on premises or via post or email. However, to really build any relationship requires active listening. Listening at a time when your customer is wanting to speak. Often this is in a scenario that is much less formal than a planned interview.
There are relatively few questions you need to ask to gain insights about what your customer thinks of you as a supplier. Like anything else, these should only been viewed as conversation starters. Often you can be amazed what customers will tell you, if only you take the time to listen!
The following questions are a good start when seeking B2B customer insights:
What other questions do you ask to gain insights from your customers?
What methods do you use to capture customer insights?