Asking the right question to know your customer

In this article, we're diving deep into the art of asking insightful questions that transcend the superficial, helping you uncover the genuine needs, desires, and pain points of your customers.


In the ever-evolving landscape of Customer Success, the power of asking the right questions cannot be overstated. We've all heard the buzzwords about "customer-centricity" and "user experience," but what does it truly mean to understand your customer?


By the end of this article, you will:

► Understand the importance of asking the right questions to improve Customer Success.

► Identify common pitfalls in customer interactions and how to steer clear of them.

► Gain practical tips for crafting effective questions that reveal deeper insights.

Why Is It Important?

Customer Success isn't just about keeping clients happy; it's about helping them succeed. To achieve this, you must understand their unique needs, goals, and challenges. Asking the right questions is the gateway to this understanding. It builds trust, fosters stronger relationships, and guides your efforts in a way that directly impacts customer retention and growth.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid:

Assuming You Already Know: Don't assume you know your customers inside out. Their needs and priorities can evolve, so stay curious.

Asking Leading Questions: Avoid steering your customers toward a specific answer. Keep questions neutral to get honest insights.

Neglecting Follow-up Questions: One question rarely tells the whole story. Be prepared to dig deeper with follow-up queries.

Practical Steps for Enhancement:

Embrace the Five W's and an H: Structure your questions around the classic journalism approach—Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. This ensures you cover all aspects of your customer's situation. Example:

  • Who: "Who are the key stakeholders in your organization for this project?"

  • What: "What are your primary objectives with this product?"

  • When: "When do you plan to implement these changes?"

  • Where: "Where do you see the most significant challenges occurring?"

  • Why: "Why is this initiative crucial for your long-term goals?"

  • How: "How do you envision our product integrating into your existing workflow?"

Use the 70/30 Rule: Aim to listen 70% of the time and speak 30%. This balance allows customers to share their insights and concerns freely. Example :

  • Let the customer explain their problem or goal thoroughly before offering solutions.

  • Ask follow-up questions like, "Can you tell me more about that?" to encourage elaboration.

Create a Question Bank: Develop a repository of well-crafted questions for different customer scenarios. This resource can serve as a handy toolkit during interactions. Example :

  • Onboarding Question - What are your team's immediate objectives with our platform?

Build Empathy through Probing: When customers express dissatisfaction or challenges, ask probing questions that show empathy and a genuine desire to help. Example:

  • Customer: "We're struggling with user adoption."

  • Empathetic Question: "I understand that user adoption is challenging. Can you share specific hurdles your team has encountered recently?"

Track and Analyze Responses: Implement a system to track customer responses and analyze trends over time. This data-driven approach will guide your strategy refinement. Example:

  • Utilize CRM software to log customer responses and monitor trends.

  • Identify patterns like common pain points or frequently mentioned goals.

Role-play and Training: Conduct regular role-playing exercises with your Customer Success team to fine-tune questioning techniques and adapt to various customer personalities. Example:

  • Conduct role-playing exercises with your team:

  • Scenario: Customer expressing frustration with a feature.

  • Trainee: Practice empathetic responses and troubleshooting questions.

Our Personal Opinion:

Asking the right questions is the cornerstone of effective Customer Success. It goes beyond buzzwords and superficial interactions, driving meaningful connections and, ultimately, the success of your customers. Customer Success team's ability to ask insightful questions leads to deeper customer understanding and, ultimately, improved customer satisfaction and retention.

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