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Now stop, collaborate and listen… to your customers

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

There are several important sounding things that a CEO does, but there is one that is overlooked way too often. Talking to customers.

We spend a lot of time thinking about the customer and how they feel, but we don’t talk directly to them. At Searchspring, we have a solid NPS score (~40), we have an amazing customer satisfaction for support (~99%), and we launched our Product Board to generate ideas and communicate. These are all great but they are only a measure, not a discussion.

I am often called in to ‘problems’ or sales that need some help getting them over the finish line, but talking to customers to learn more about their site, their problems, and where they wish we would be heading is a discussion.

I am lucky enough to have worked in ecommerce for 12 years and ecommerce tech for 4 years thereafter, it allows me to have a deeper conversation with other ecommerce retailers and decipher their nuisances and discuss their problems. However, I have to keep in mind that over the last four years, tons has changed and the ecommerce landscape is changing at a rapid pace, what worked in 2016 may not be accurate in 2020. This is where talking to customers comes into play, but in talking I really mean listening.

Over the past couple of weeks I have spoken to close to ten customers and have learned a ton of valuable information on how they feel about our product, our customer service, and our performance itself. I have found it so rewarding that my goal is to talk to ten customers every quarter in 2021 and not just because they are angry, but because I just want to learn how they perceive us and what we can do better.

In addition, and separately planned from my ad hoc calls the past two weeks, is our Client Advisory Board we are launching in 2021. These boards are paramount for the product team to hear first hand from our customers on what they seek and don’t seek, and for our customer success team to hear how they are also viewed.

We will now have a set of customers for the product team to bounce ideas off of and to allow early beta testing with quick direct feedback. I’m excited to see what assumptions that we made are validated and which are invalidated.

All this that we do and my goal to reach out to 10 customers per quarter is off the simple premise that we put the customer first. It is one of our six core values and my job is to live our values, and in this case, talk to as many customers as possible – and long before it is out of necessity.