Most businesses track customer satisfaction, retention, returns, and so forth but they seldom listen well enough to translate patterns of customer behavior and interaction into higher levels of organizational performance.
Customer listening is important and good for business and the companies that do it well tend to out operate, out-innovate and generally outmaneuver their competition.
If you want your business to deliver an exceptional customer experience and build loyal, returning customers, you are better off listening and paying attention to their needs, expectations, and wishes.
Once this critical information is collected, it’s only natural then to use it to influence decision-making and organizational behavior towards customer needs.
Below are some of the activities you need to execute to embed customer listening into your business or organization and reap the benefits.
In the past, the expense of focus groups was often prohibitive for many small businesses especially when they wanted to introduce customer listening, but the internet has made things much more cost-effective.
Gathering your best customers together to talk about your business and product is an excellent hands-on way to get direct feedback.
Focus groups give you more in-depth insights than surveys. Rather than having to deal with the cost of bringing together multiple groups of customers into one space, companies can now do focus group research using online tools.
This is a sure-fire way to listen to your customers. Observing your customers is an excellent way to find out why they’re buying or not buying your product.
It also helps you better understand their buying habits. Ethnographic research which encompasses everything from just observing customer behavior, to tagging along with them while they’re shopping and asking them questions as they go is a better way to put it.
You get to see how they’re thinking as they shop up-close and personally. You can then take not4s to improve upon certain things.
Your point-of-sale employees interact with your customers during every purchase; they are an indispensable opportunity for getting information from your customers.
You can build feedback-gathering systems right into your point-of-sale processes and train your employees to gather data during any interaction they have with the customers.
The best companies listen right at the front line and they are the ones who manage to introduce customer listening seamlessly.
Employees receive evaluations from the people best able to render appraisal-the customers they serve every day. The employees follow up with willing customers in one-on-one conversations.
Through active listening, they strive to understand in detail what customers value and what they can do to deliver it better.
Over time, companies use this data to make process and policy refinements that add up to a better experience for all customers.
If you are thorough with your customer service and point-of-sale interactions, you’ll not only be able to identify big problem areas, but also learn more about the demographics of your customers and why they’re buying your product.
Social media outlets are inherently about building relationships with your customers. They make it easier than ever to listen to customers’ concerns, see what makes them happy, and catch any problems immediately.
Social media is practically being made for getting a pulse on your customers. You can instantly see if they are excited or upset about something: It’s like having a focus group at your fingertips, 24/7.
You can create open communities within your business to gain direct access to your customers’ opinions and thoughts.
For example, have customers submit their email addresses for newsletter mailing lists or updates, and you can also send them an occasional note asking how you’re doing.
Or, establish the option to register a username and profile on your website, and you will find out more important details about who your customer is.
Checking out “closed communities” is a more passive, but still effective, way to gather feedback and introduce customer listening to your business.
Visiting review sites like Yelp to see what people are saying about you will give you better insights.
If a customer loves or hates something about your business, you are going to want to hear about it. So, you should make it easy for people to be able to contact you with such reviews or comments or even inquiries.
Clearly denote the areas on your website where customers can submit their opinions and get in touch with you or the appropriate rep. Plus, do not just label it “Give us feedback”, put it in more sincere terms to show that you really want to hear what they have to say.
It should say something inviting and human-like. Using “Feedback” is too corporate and unfeeling. Prove that you want them to click that link. Use better CTAs to prompt and guarantee action.
There are many reasons why you would care to listen to them. Doing this allows you to tap into the power of information that will influence your decision-making, focus, and probably ROI.
And just like that, now you know the 7 simple ways to implement a customer listening culture in your organization.