Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Did he just say the most unhappy?
What – wait, what about the others?
Well, they add to your learning curve too.
Provided you know what they are actually thinking!
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.
A recent colleague asked, “But Juliana, how do you interview your clients in a candid way, that they spill the beans?”
Well, this is how.
Scheduling an Exit Interview
I reach out to interviewees a week or two in advance, with a simple email asking their availability for a 25-minute interview.
Once I get a go-ahead, I ask them the following questions during the interview. 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.
They are still my favorite though.
Before we jump to the questions, here are a couple of tips for you from a pro:
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.
Super Pro Tip: Keep asking “why” to get to the heart of the matter.
Client Interview Questions to Ask
- 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?
- 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?
Questions to Understand the Pre-Buying Process
While email marketing doesn’t really focus on these questions, you can use them for future reference, especially while conducting a sales call.
- 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?
- 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?
Questions to Understand the After-Sale Process
- 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 interview and copy and paste the questions listed above.
I take as much notes as I can o catch the feeling that the customer carries for my brand.
Sup Up Client Insights
As it turns out, scheduling an exit interview with your clients helps in getting the much-needed brand clarity to drive more customers to your offerings.
Conducting an offboarding client exit 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 interviews and again while wrapping up.
After all, they’re doing you a favor.
So, be sure to treat it like one.