Increasing Loyalty By Listening to Your Customers
Dec 6, 2011
Unfortunately, today it seems that many companies are having that same problem.
They pretend to listen– but they don’t hear the real meaning of what their customers are asking for.
They take surveys and polls and do focus groups.
They monitor social media to see what is being said or written about them.
But are they tuning in to the nuances of what people are saying, asking and doing?
I go to several trade shows each year and am surprised at the few vendors that take the time to ask me in depth questions that are not from their script — and then take notes. Even fewer follow up from a trade show with anything other than pre-packaged catalogs. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars exhibiting at trade shows if companies don’t ask pertinent questions and follow up with potential customers and partners.
When we exhibit at trade shows, I look at the event as away to do market research, gauge customers’ reactions and get opinions and feedback. People are willing to help you if you just ask them.
Social media. There is way too much “shouting” or “couponing” and much too little dialog taking place still today. It is one thing to track how many times your company name is mentioned on Facebook or Twitter. It is another thing to see how it is trending and to understand what people are saying–and why.
This gives you an excellent opportunity for engagement with these posters … and a chance to learn.
Listen, not just hear.
Do you ever take out customers and ask them for feedback on a new product or service before it is a fait accompli? Customers are much more willing to give you feedback on early prototypes or at the beginning of a project than at the end, where they’d only hurt your feelings or know that their opinion doesn’t really matter at that point.
I have made it a point to ask clients about new offerings and products with the notion that it is something we are kicking around, and I would like to hear what they think of the whole idea. By coming to them early, rather than later, I have gained some valuable ideas and learned some interesting lessons over the years.
Do you ever follow up with customers after delivery to see how they felt about your product or service? Not just to see that they got everything on time, but to see how their customers liked it or what they might have done differently for the next order.
Customer contact should be an opportunity for conversation, not just glad-handing or shouting.
Listen to your customers…. and hear what they have to say.
Listen to understand.
Listen for hidden meanings.
Listen for success.
Listen for greater loyalty.