Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Did he just say the most unhappy?
What about the others? The ones you write home about — the happiest ones.
Well, they add to your learning curve, too.
Provided you know what they’re actually thinking!
That’s why you’ve got some homework to do. You’ve got to know which questions to ask clients.
If you’ve been wracking your brain to find new ways to reach and connect with your target audience, interviewing your clients during the offboarding process can give you great ideas and insight.
But Juliana, how do you conduct an effective client success interview with the right questions that get clients to spill the beans?!
Well, I’m glad you asked. This is how we do it with these top 21 questions to ask clients.
Why conduct a client success interview anyway?
Your agency must understand the customer’s needs and expectations with your offerings. Otherwise, it’s like spelunking without a flashlight. Asking clients questions on the front and backend of a job well done gives your team the info they need to be successful.
But I don’t have time to sit and chat with every single customer and potential client!
That’s true. Asking every single client that comes through your digital door a battery of questions isn’t very scalable, is it?
But if you reach out to customers for a success interview at specific times in the buyer’s journey, your team can get much-needed insight into what clients are feeling and thinking when in the thick of the experience.
Customer feedback is actual, real data you can act on to further optimize and scale your business.
Asking clients the right questions at specific points in their journey will reveal new opportunities you can capitalize on. Answers to client interview questions can also uncover some not-so-good things happening with your brand that needs fixing.
Scheduling a Client Success Interview
The first step in the process is to schedule the initial client interview. I know, right? Who would have thunk it?
While this might seem like a no-brainer, there’s a right way and a wrong way to scheduling a client success interview.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Feel free to borrow our process and flatter us.
We reach out to interviewees a week or two in advance before the date we have in mind for the meeting. All we do is send a simple email asking their availability for a 25-minute (tops!) client interview.
Tips for wording your email:
- Get straight to the point — Tell them precisely why you’re reaching out. Personalize it a bit, so it doesn’t come off as standard boilerplate or, worse — spam.
- Be respectful of their time — Be upfront with how much time you’re asking for — 25 minutes max.
- Thank them twice — Thank them for doing business with you (or considering it if they’re pre-buying) and for giving you some of their time for the interview.
Remember to always be genuine in the email, keep it short, and forgo any pushy language.
While it’s true that the answers you get from them will be a goldmine of data and help you further optimize your business, they’re really doing you a massive favor here.
During the client interview, I ask them a battery of pre-selected questions designed to elicit a detailed response that helps set us up for future success.
But let me disclose these are not my questions. These have been passed down from generation to generation of marketers like a fable, and the source has been washed by the sands of time.
So, before we jump to the questions, here are a couple of tips from the pros on questions to ask clients:
Pro Tip: These are time-tested questions that have helped me receive some of the best responses ever. Altering them isn’t recommended. At all.
SuperPro Tip: Keep asking “why” to get to the heart of the matter. Go ahead. Unleash your inner five-year-old!
These top 18 questions to ask clients are broken down into different categories, depending on where the client is in the buying process.
So go right ahead and copy these. I promise to be flattered.
Potential Client Interview Questions to Ask
I don’t know what questions to ask clients because I don’t know if I can even help their business yet!
If you’re not sure if you can actually help improve their business, ask your potential clients these critical questions to understand their goals, expectations, plans, and objectives.
Set yourself up for success during the onboarding process!
- Before we started working together, what were you trying to do? What were the challenges you had? What were you trying to accomplish? Why? What were you frustrated by? What problems did we help you solve in your business? Why?
- What did you want? How do we improve your business? Why? They need your help and are here because they would like to work with you. Try to understand their business ideas and vision so that you can help them better.
- What are your expectations? Keep track of client’s expectations. As scope and expectations change, so should the contract?
- What was your fear? What were you concerned about? What was your fear if you didn’t get what you wanted?
- How did the other people involved in the decision all feel about this? What did they want? What were they frustrated by? What did they fear?
- What is your overall budget and projected starting date of the project? Knowing both pieces of information allows you to develop an accurate estimate that matches not just on price but also helps you accurately prioritize projects.
- What are your expectations on having good customer service?
Don’t over-commit just to win the client’s business.
Quality matters, and not every client is the right one for you. Have some self-respect and quit chasing all the dollars!
Questions to ask potential clients: Understanding the pre-buying process
Use these questions for understanding where your potential client is currently in the pre-buying process and if you can meet them there. These questions are beneficial when conducting a sales call.
Prospective client questions to ask during the pre-buying process:
- What was most important to you when you were making a decision?
- What factors didn’t matter as much?
- Who was involved in the decision-making process? Who made the final decision or signed the contract? What was their title? It’s critical to figure out if you’re speaking to and dealing with the right decision-makers and understand the entire process for a business or project.
- Who else did you look at? What other companies did you talk to? What other ways did you look at solving this problem?
- Why did you decide to go with us versus other companies or alternatives?
There are two vital answers you need before you agree to work with a potential client:
- Is there an actual need for your offering?
- If so, is this person a good fit for your business?
You need both if you want to forge a long-term business relationship with the client and get referrals.
Client Questions to Ask for Understanding the After-Sale Process
When you clinch the sale, asking clients questions about why they chose your specific company and why they like your brand can give your marketing team a lot of valuable insight.
Ask these questions after the sale:
- What do you like about us?
- How could we improve? Any feedback?
- If you were to describe what we do to another company, what would you say?
- Is there anything else you want to add or how we can be helpful?
- Based on what you know about us, can you think of anyone else whom it might make sense for me to talk to?
To make the process simpler, I open a Google doc on my screen before I start the client interview and copy and paste the questions listed above.
I take as many notes as I can to fully capture the feeling the customer has for my brand.
Offboarding client interview questions and critical insights
Scheduling an exit interview with your clients helps get the much-needed brand clarity to drive more customers to your offerings.
An exit interview also gives you the perfect opportunity to uncover any gaps in your processes and where you can improve your offerings.
Conducting an offboarding client success interview also enables you to figure out what your target audience genuinely wants — not what the industry says they do.
So, if you’re keen on capitalizing on consumer decisions and behavioral studies, begin the charity at home by interviewing your clients during the offboarding process.
- Schedule your exit interview. Use the question “why” to dig for those nuggets of insight.
- Ask questions that uncover your client’s pre-buying processes, like why they chose your company over a competitor and who was the ultimate decision-maker.
- Uncover your client’s after-sale thoughts. Find out what they enjoyed about working with your company and what they didn’t.
- Use the end of the interview as an opportunity to ask for referrals.
Oh, and always remember to thank them before starting the client interviews and again while wrapping up.
After all, they’re doing you a favor.
So, be sure to treat it like one.
Questions to ask clients: Be proactive and take action
You won’t know if you don’t ask.
Conduct a client interview during specific points in the buyer’s journey to get valuable insight into where your customer’s heads are at.
- Send a short and sweet email that gets straight to the point.
- Remember to thank the client in the email, during, and after the interview.
- Keep the interviews short (15 to 25 minutes) and respect the client’s time.
- Simplify the process. Pick your questions beforehand and have a Google doc open during the interview.
Bottom line? It’s on you to find out precisely what your client needs, how you can serve them, and why they’ve chosen you over a competitor.
Asking clients the right questions during specific points in the customer journey will help you optimize your business for growth.
Are you falling through the cracks and gaps in your client process? That’s a bummer. There’s a better way to live.
Schedule a free session with us today, and let’s talk about how we can fill in those gaps and get your agency running smoothly!