As Peter F Drucker once famously said, ‘the purpose of business is to make and keep a customer’.
It’s a very true statement, but, while making a customer is one thing, keeping them is another. Retaining a customer is about knowing them, understanding them and responding to their needs, which begs the question, are you listening to your customers in order to understand how satisfied they are and what they want from your business?
Here are five ways to ensure you are listening to your customer
Know your customer
To listen to your customer, you need to know exactly who they are. And we’re not just talking any customer here, but rather the ideal client for your business.
When you know your ideal customer, you know where to find them, how to market to them and what’s likely to meet their needs.
When you then seek their feedback and listen to this ideal customer, you have the opportunity to grow and improve your business, while increasing customer loyalty.
So now let’s examine where exactly you should be looking for the customer feedback that your business needs.
The comments and feedback on social media tell you a lot about how your customer feels using your products or services.
It’s also a great space to ask for customer feedback about your business or to determine whether there are additional needs that you can meet.
Take the time to monitor your social media accounts, but more importantly engage with the customers who frequent this space.
If you want to know how your customer feels, you should ask them via customer satisfaction surveys.
This can be as simple as an email, asking for feedback about a recent experience with your business, or more formal in the form of written or digital surveys.
Whichever way you approach it, it’s important to ensure the feedback provided is analysed, heard and changes are implemented if required.
Simply having conversations with your customers can also offer a whole lot of insight into your business, its performance and the overall customer experience.
Take the time to regularly connect with customers in person, over the phone or via email and seek their thoughts on your products and services.
Testimonials and reviews
Actively acquiring testimonials and reviews is key to business success in an era where products and services are just a Google search away for any potential customer.
Monitor and analyse the customer reviews of your business to determine if there’s room for improvement.
The art of listening
The reality is there are clues to how your customer feels about you in a variety of places, including the volume of repeat business you get, comments on social media, and reviews and testimonials about your products and services.
But if you really want to know what they’re thinking you should ask them and then actively listen to their response.
Active listening involves carefully gauging what the person is saying, looking for common themes and clarifying exactly what they mean.
In other words, it involves the following:
- Listen for what the other party is expressing, rather than what you ‘think’ the answer should be.
- Think about what you are hearing, so you can ask the right question.
- Confirm what you are hearing so the speaker understands you are (or are not) on the same page.