Sometimes we get so carried away by new tools, trends and advice from business gurus that we forget to do the most basic things. Think about it: when was the last time you called one of your customers and asked him about his experience with your company? When you lose a prospect to your competition, do you call her to find out why she didn’t choose you? In this article I share some of the questions I ask my clients – the clients that leave and the prospects that decide to go with our competition.
What You Should Ask Your Clients

  • When you decided to hire us, have you considered other options? If so, why did you choose us?
  • How satisfied are you with the way you performed in that area? (If they tell you they chose your company because of its customer service, ask them how they would rate your customer service.)
  • If we could do one thing different to increase your satisfaction level, what would this be?
  • How likely are you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues?

What You Should Ask Leaving Clients

  • Why did you decide to stop working with us?
  • What could we have done to prevent this?

What You Should Ask Clients that Seemed Interested But Went with Your Competition

  • What did you like about our proposal?
  • What didn’t you like about it?
  • In what areas was the proposal from Company XYZ better?
  • What were the top factors that made you choose Company XYZ over us?

Be Courteous
Remember that these people have better things to do than answer your questions, so ask nicely. Explain that their input will mean a lot to you and if they agree to answer your questions, don’t be pushy and let them know that they don’t have to answer all your questions if they don’t want. If they help you, send them a thank you letter or a small gift.
Why This Is Important
Think about it: how much could you improve your company if you knew EXACTLY WHY YOUR CLIENTS DO BUSINESS WITH YOU AND WHY OTHERS DON’T? You can spend a few years figuring it out by trial-and-error or pick up the phone and just ask the right people.