If you want to achieve sustainable growth, there’s no better way than customer-led growth.
Profoundly understanding the profile of your ideal customers, their unmet needs, and their pains will accelerate your growth rate exponentially.
But just doing a survey once every few months will not make you understand your customers enough to have a meaningful impact on your growth.
That's why I have compiled a list of 20+ techniques you can use to gather feedback and the opportunities and quick wins you can produce as a result.
The most important tool for a successful growth strategy is customer interviews. The amount of value you get from them is unbelievable!
With the right questions, you can break down interviews into a mountain of insights and content. And as by-products of these interviews, lots of opportunities await you.
1. Customer success stories
Your main landing page isn't the first thing your potential customers see most of the time, and it's not the last thing they'll see before signing up.
When they consider buying your product, they want to feel like you understand them. You need to speak about their problems, how you solve them, and the value it brings.
That's where customer success stories are so useful. You can hammer down your strategic messaging and make it more specific with a good story.
The best copywriters are great at telling stories. But if you just listen to your customers, you can also get great stories even if you're not a great copywriter.
What should be included in these stories? The pains customers had before moving to your product, the experience they had during the transition, and the value they are getting now.
Here are a few questions you can use during the interviews:
When did you realize you needed a tool like ours? What was going on in your world that caused you to start looking for one?
When you tried [Product Name], what happened that made you feel certain it was the right choice?
Now that you're using [Product Name] regularly, what's the #1 thing you're able to do that you weren't before?
A nice bonus as you write customer stories is testimonials. You just have to get your interview transcript, find great quotes, and sprinkle them along the customer journey. A single interview can get you several small testimonials.
You can use them on landing pages, in onboarding sequences, with transactional emails, even using your product or in sales pitches.
3. Landing pages by industry
You can also remix your customer stories to make landing pages. Let's say your ideal customer is an HR manager. Their company could be restaurants, health businesses, retail, and more.
By targeting specific industries, your potential customers feel welcome because you care about their business and industry.
4. Opportunities to upsell
Customer interviews are also a time where you can understand customers more deeply, and they could start talking about what their ambitions are.
They could need something from your product or your team they don't know yet.
It might also be a need they will have in the future. In that case, put a reminder in your CRM to check back with them soon.
5. Discover more about how you can satisfy customers
Your product will never be perfect. But it's okay!
Understanding what issues your customers have will enable you to make the right growth experiments to get them to be more satisfied.
Maybe they want more webinars and education, perhaps the knowledge base isn't complete enough, or some features are needed.
A question you can ask to know what to improve is, "What parts of our workflow aren't on par with what you'd expect them to be?".
You need constant feedback from customers throughout their lifetime to be successful with customer-led growth. Surveys are precious in that respect.
You can read more about surveys in my guide: B2B SaaS Customer Surveys: The Complete Guide
6. Measure onboarding efficiency
A simple technique to know whether your customers are satisfied with their onboarding or not is to ask them!
You can do this with a CES survey. It’s just 1 quantitative question and 1 qualitative question.
How easy was it for you to get started with [Product Name]? (Very easy; Easy; Neither; Difficult; Very difficult)
Tell us the one thing we could do to get your higher rating?
You can send the survey through an email, an in-app message, or a feedback widget. You probably know when is the right timing. If not, do customer interviews to understand what kind of event or series of events lead your customers to their “aha!” moment.
Always send a personal follow-up message for the customers that find it hard to onboard. Try getting more details and a way they can be more successful in their usage of the product.
If you get interesting feedback in the qualitative question from satisfied customers, make a note in your CRM to include them in a round of interviews in a few weeks when they have settled and ready to give you great insights.
7. Measure loyalty
With an NPS survey, you can quickly know if your customers usually would recommend your product.
While the quantitative question "How likely are you to recommend [Product Name] to a friend?" doesn’t hold much value and faces criticism, the process can still have some value.
If a customer is neutral, try to get on a call with them to understand why they are not promoters.
If a customer is a detractor, understand their issues and offer them a discount or something that could satisfy them. If they are bad-fit customers, it's better to do nothing though.
If a customer is a promoter, give them something (referral or affiliation) to motivate them to promote your product even more.
8. Understand why customers churn
The probability of a customer leaving your product is closely related to the success of your onboarding.
But there are issues that customers might not see at first and become deal breakers down the line.
They cancel their accounts, and you end up not knowing why. It could be technical issues, lack of customer service, missing features, etc.
Ask them why with a survey before they leave.
You can make it mandatory to get more responses, but it will upset some customers if there is too much friction to cancel.
If canceling is as tedious as canceling a gym membership, it will hurt your reputation!
My advice, make it optional unless you really have a big issue with churn and need to know what’s going on temporarily
9. Measure product/market fit
You have 2 important questions to have in a survey if you want to measure product/market fit:
How would you feel if you could no longer use [Product Name]!? (Very disappointed; Somewhat disappointed; N/A; Not disappointed)
How would you explain [Product Name] to a friend?
The first one is known for its 40% rule. If more than 40% of the respondents are “very disappointed” if your product no longer exists, it means you have product/market fit.
In reality, this rule shows you have is good retention. But you also need to have a good acquisition experience to truly have product/market fit.
That’s why we have the second question. This way we know if their description of our positioning is correct or not.
If they can’t restitute the right positioning, you might have a messaging problem. And it can lead to conversion rate issues.
When your customers are aligned with your positioning, that’s where you know your messaging is clear and consistent making your acquisition experience good.
10. Know the usefulness of customer service and features
Finally, CSAT surveys sprinkle here and there can tell you if something is useful or not to your customers. Here are the places you could put one:
After a support ticket closes
When a customer uses a new feature for the first time
Be careful not to bombard customers with a ton of messages and widgets. Those of you who knew the Internet before popup blockers probably still have nightmares from that time!
The internet is a great source of information. Use it to your advantage to gather more feedback from existing and potential customers.
11. Find out what customers think about you and your competitors
Look for your reviews and those of your competitors to see what customers are saying.
List all the pains they usually have, the benefits they might have with the current solutions they use, and what features they love the most.
You will quickly gather feedback to strengthen the whole customer journey.
12. Find customers willing to give their opinions for interviews
Every interaction with customers needs to be seen as opportunities.
Finding customers to interview can be hard. But chatty customers will probably be more willing.
When someone requests a feature or comment on your roadmap, it is a precious signal they like your product and have additional needs they are ready to share.
That’s a golden opportunity to interview them!
13. Follow-up with them when the features they wanted are released
It’s frustrating to share ideas and to get nothing in return. If your customers participate in the roadmap and don’t know if they are heard, they will go elsewhere.
53% of customers switch because they feel unappreciated. (Source: NewVoice)
Follow-up with the customers that have helped you forge the path of your product. They are your allies and need to be complimented.
Show some empathy and send them a personal email when you release a feature they have interacted within the roadmap.
Another possibility is to give them beta access to those features and try to get feedback from them.
Finally, even if a suggestion doesn’t end up being in the product, follow-up with the customers who supported those suggestions to let them know you are grateful for their feedback and explain why you didn’t go farther.
14. Satisfy active customers
Your customers want to know you are active and are moving forward. They want to know the company isn’t dead.
With a changelog, they know what’s going on and will be more patient if something is missing.
It’s a great way to keep your active customers longer.
15. Re-engage inactive customers
It’s also a great way to reduce the inactivity of customers. They might have reduced their usage or are on the brink of cancellation.
They are too shy to bring up their issues to you. You need to be pro-active.
Your changelog is one way you might avoid some of your customers to leave. It will only take you a couple of hours every month. If you can avoid even one cancellation, it’s already a win.
16. Show prospects what is going on
Making your changelog public can also show your potential customers how active you are.
You might be adding features that are not yet explained on the marketing site. The changelog shows the features they might have wanted increasing conversion in the process.
The changelog is also about addressing ongoing issues you might have and how you are going to fix them soon. If an issue has shot your reputation recently, potential customers might be willing to give you a chance if you are serious about fixing it.
17. Convince active customers to participate in the roadmap
Each time you send an update to your customers, don’t forget to add a link to your roadmap to entice active customers in participating.
You can also mention customers that have helped to make the changes a priority to show other customers that you listen to them. It might convince them to give you some feedback.
High-Touch Customer Service
Close interactions with customers are the best. It’s always an occasion for them to gain a great deal of knowledge and you can use this time to deepen your understanding of them.
You could think of webinars as something time-consuming but it doesn’t have to be. You just have to remix existing resources into slides and it’s done.
You can also make webinars to test new content you want to write on the blog and get feedback before committing thousands of words on the subject.
Webinars can also be used to demo beta features or removing roadblocks that you have identified with other customer-led techniques.
Finally, when it’s time for Q&A’s, it’s the perfect way to dig further into their questions to uncover new pains without doing 1-on-1 customer interviews.
19. Office hours
And office hours are similar to webinars when it comes to the previous point. If you don’t have time to do 1-on-1 customer interviews or fail to find participants, doing office hours might be a way to get more knowledge about your customers.
20. Concierge onboarding
Getting onboarding right is tough. The general advice is to reduce friction but it’s not the truth. More friction is sometimes very useful, especially for B2B businesses.
You need an onboarding with an adequate amount of friction, and it depends on your ideal customer.
For some types of customers, concierge onboarding is the only way to go.
But it’s also a way to get live feedback about your onboarding. You help your customers onboard and respond to their questions in real-time.
Compared to CES surveys, you will get more qualitative data which will help you more when you have big issues with your onboarding.
21. Pain point SEO
With all the feedback you are getting when doing customer-led growth, you understand customers with more depth.
By using the pains and problems you have gathered through interactions with your customers, you will be able to write content that will solve their issues better than your competitors.
So next time you do keyword analysis, focus on the pains given by customers and find out what amazing content you can produce to improve their situation.
22. Remix your customer stories into blog posts
I am a fan of repurposing resources. Customer stories are not SEO resources. They have their place in the customer journey but it's not meant to be found by searching on Google.
But you could rewrite them into blog posts – as a Q&A style article – or use a customer story to provide an example in an article you are currently writing.
This way you can optimize them for specific keywords and promote them as you normally do with blog posts.