In the world of business, we often watch the wild success of one company and the quick failure of many others. At the heart of all business is the customer, whilst business is of course fuelled by money, money is easier to obtain if you simply take a minute to stop and listen to what the customer is saying. After all, people buy from people!
Listening is an essential strength to have in business. No one wants to talk to a brick wall, so if your company presents itself as open and receptive to feedback and objections, it is more likely to be a success. However, if you are not listening, then the inevitable will happen – your business will stagnate or fail.
In order to be successful, your team needs to make the customer feel as though your values and business goals are centered around their needs, as ultimately, they are the ones buying and using your product or service. You and your team shouldn’t simply be thrusting a product or service at them and hoping for the best without taking their input on board.
Listening to customer feedback is especially vital for start-ups, businesses choosing to release a new product or service, and those marketing an existing product or service to a new audience. Asking customers, or potential customers, for their feedback is a key step in the process of creating a viable business, enabling you to assess your product/service, refine its offering and match it to the customers’ requirements.
Customer opinions provide insights to your product and shapes the direction and message of your brand, ensuring that your business is aiming itself at the correct target audience. If the customers you’re interacting with are continuously providing negative feedback, something isn’t working! You may be missing your target’s needs, aiming the product or service at the wrong group of people, presenting the incorrect message or even that your product or service simply isn’t desired in the market in comparison to competitors. By conducting market research and encouraging potential clients to help you explore the advantages and flaws of your product or service, you will gain vital insights and ideas. But more importantly, you will be able to tailor the product for the people who will actually be using it. In doing this, your business, and brand, becomes customer centric.
Later down the line, listening to customer feedback helps you to measure customer satisfaction, which is obviously vital to keeping your business afloat. By continuously engaging with customers throughout the development of your business or product, your team will create a sense of loyalty which will help the performance of your business as your customers will feel valued. If customers are actively telling you that they like your offering, share this and encourage others to buy into your brand and offering. But remember this channel of feedback is a two-way street, if they’re also suggesting changes or reporting issues, work to implement these changes and show that you are listening.
The more that you prove that you are open to customer feedback, be it negative or positive, the higher your levels of customer retention will be. Ultimately, a continuously unhappy and ignored customer will find a more suitable alternative to your business and leave. However, if you and your team continuously encourage your customers to voice their opinions and adapt to these, you will better be able to measure the satisfaction of customers and keep them on board.
The easiest way to show that you are listening to your customer is to actively seek their point of view – conduct surveys, ask for testimonials, or react to feedback on social media. Social media is a gold mine for feedback, it is fair to say that almost all of your customers will interact with the internet in some way, shape or form, so use this to your benefit. Reply to their comments, negative or positive, engage in conversation with them, don’t simply use automated responses. If you don’t feel that you have the time to do this, then outsource this service, as it is vital that you engage with people on these platforms.
Simply put, if you and your team present your business as a customer centric company, the people buying into your product or service will be more connected to you as a brand and in turn this will boost the success of your business and your customer lifecycles.
So, are you listening?