In any given company, customer-facing team members are among the most important and impactful. Even those employees in entry-level or administrative positions are representing your organization to its paying customers, and the interactions they have "on the front lines" are the ones that can ultimately make or break your business.
To that end, any employee who deals directly with customers should be trained to proactively build and strengthen positive relationships with them. Whether they're interacting with customers face-to-face, over the phone or on social media, it's important that they continually work toward the highest level of service and satisfaction by asking the right questions.
According to eight successful entrepreneurs, here are some great questions that will give a customer-facing employee valuable insights into a customer's needs.
How can I help?
It's a simple question, but one of the most important that you can ask your customer. Eng Tan, founder and CEO of Simplr, advises leveraging this question upfront to show that you're in a position to listen to your customers.
"A customer's time is valuable, so that first question must be impactful while still respecting their time," Tan says. "'How can I help?' is open-ended enough to invite feedback, but also show that the customer comes first."
What is your goal?
According to Matthew Podolsky, managing attorney of Florida Law Advisers, P.A., a business needs to know its clients' goals so it can adjust its service accordingly.
"We want to focus our efforts and tools on the activities that will reap the greatest rewards for our client," Podolsky says. "Too often, companies will assume they know what their clients need and/or take a one-size-fits-all approach."
What is your biggest problem or pain point?
During the sales process, Kristin Kimberly Marquet, founder of Fem Founder, always asks a client what their biggest pain point is. Then, she and her team determine the way to resolve that problem or pain point.
"Asking about the customer is the only way to gain true insight," Marquet explains. "When you try to sell someone right out of the gate without listening to their problem, the prospect shuts down."
What don't you like about our product or service?
Positive reviews may seem like the "holy grail" for modern businesses, but they don't necessarily impact your future development, says Solomon Thimothy, president of OneIMS. Instead, you should purposely seek critical feedback so you know where to improve.
"If people don't want to buy from you, honestly ask them what they prefer instead and why," Thimothy says. "If people already use your product, ask what annoys them. Maybe there is something that you could change now to make their experience even better."
What is the 'perfect fit' for you?
Bryce Welker, CEO of Beat The CPA, learned in one of his earliest sales jobs that you should always ask a prospective customer to describe their ideal product or service.
"Find out what the most important features are to them and then connect these wants and needs to your existing catalog," Welker adds.
How easy or difficult was it to get your issue resolved?
Great customer service is built on fast responses and making it as easy as possible for customers to solve their issues. That's why Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, recommends asking your customers how easy or difficult it was to get their issue resolved after they've communicated with a member of your customer service team.
"If customer service was slow or difficult, you need to find ways to improve," Wells says.
Did we answer your question?
Customers typically contact support teams when they have questions or concerns, so it's important to make sure their initial reason for contacting your business is resolved, says Syed Balkhi, co-founder of WPBeginner.
"If they say no, dig a little deeper so you can understand how to help this customer and improve experiences for future consumers," Balkhi explains.
How can we serve you better?
Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms, says businesses should always be thinking of ways to improve their customer service because your customers are the ones who keep it running.
"Collecting customer feedback for your business is vital to its success," Atchison says. "If you can get this information, then you can create ways to serve them better in the future."