Undertaking a marketing research exercise can be a drain on resources; typically time and money. But there are market research opportunities that cost you nothing, and volunteered and absolutely targeted.
Your existing customer touchpoints can certainly be sales opportunities, but they can also be valuable marketing insights.
Listen to what your customers say; if they are more interested in telling you about a bad after-sales experience, then you can bet your left nut that this is just as important to them as the actual product purchasing exercise.
Consider this at the time of the touchpoint and emphasis on how you’re after sales service is second to none. Post the sales process, discuss this with your customer service representatives with the view of adding this into your current sales pitch.
The trick here is to keep the pitch process fluid, as it is more than likely that different customers will have different motivators and influencing factors that will steer them towards the sale conclusion.
In reality, although the above is a sound strategy, it does have its drawbacks; if the customer is no longer interested in using your services or products then this touchpoint will never materialise. Your (ex)customer will still have this type of conversation, unfortunately it will not be you. This is a risk; it is a risk that needs to be mitigated.
On the surface, there is little that you can do; but some of your action items to minimise this is:
Establish communication channels, particularly when the relationship is young. This might be to invite them to subscribe to your website, like your Facebook page, or make it easy to follow you on other different media platforms (Pinterest/Instagram).
Search the social networks to see when and how you are mentioned. This will allow you a feedback path that may salvage a less that glowing review. BTW, use this to also acknowledge bouquet’s.
Advertise that you are proactive is correcting less than ideal experiences. This might be as simple as a statement in your shop, on your invoices, or in any paid advertising that you may undertake.
Ultimately, although we have strayed into customer relationship management, the actions that you take can all be interpreted as a market research exercise without actually being one.