February 2, 2018
Being a good listener is the key to being more liked by people, and the same goes for businesses trying to endear themselves to customers. It goes without saying “the customer is always right” did not come about and become a common adage without solid reason.
It’s not a good idea to alienate whoever has the money, especially since the point of having a business is to earn money in the first place. That alienation boils down to customers not getting what they want, plain and simple. If they don’t see what they want from your business, they won’t buy anything.
The act of listening is the one thing businesses must constantly do in order to stave off malaise and decline.
Reasons Why You Should Always Listen to Your Customers
1. Customer Like to Feel Valued
If you listen closely to customers, especially those loyal to your business, they will appreciate how they’re being seen as actual human beings whose input is actually valuable instead of simply being disembodied shapes who simply fork over their money. A handful of loyal customers who care are worth more than a million customers who could care less.
2. Customer Have the Buying Power
Customers can say a lot of things, but what talks loudest is their money. They vote with their wallets, and you should be aware of whatever is making that money roll in. Your actions should then reflect that awareness, from your marketing to the products being sold and how customers are treated.
3. Listening Can Help Grow Business
A business that doesn’t get with the times and listen to customers is like the dead air in an empty room with nothing to stir it. If cash is oxygen for businesses, then feedback is nourishment.
The ways for a business to listen are numerous—surveys, feedback forms, reviews, focus sessions, and so on. However, the old-fashioned method of talking to customers and listening to what they have to say on a day-to-day basis is still hard to beat.
4. It Can Help Improve Customer Retention
Since customers tend to appreciate businesses that listen so much, you can expect them to stick around when their demands are satisfied and their feedback is taken seriously. Customer retention is all about the business being a two-way street, and the key to building that business-customer relationship is reciprocation.
By regularly taking feedback from customers, you keep a finger on the pulse that keeps your business going. Frustration and dissatisfaction from customers, or simply them finding a better deal elsewhere, should be taken as signals and clues to whatever may be improved.
5. Customers Hold the Key to Success
It goes without saying that customers are the main reason behind a business’ success. Their money is the reason why your business exists, and their collective voice can even tell the future. Finding ways to take feedback more easily can be challenging for some, but it’s an effort worth pursuing.
Tried and Tested Tips You Must Implement as a Business
1. Build Trust with Your Customers
Trust is all about knowing the other party has nothing to hide and always has best intentions in mind. For businesses, transparency is the key here. Being able to show customers you’re not afraid of feedback is a tremendous way to build trust, and a good way to do that is through reviews.
You get feedback from customers, and other customers get to see that feedback. The latter, when you’re getting positive reviews, helps convince customers of how good your business really is. When other customers say you’re good instead of just you saying it, that comes off as way more convincing.
2. Make Good Use of Chat
Direct interaction with customers is the best way to listen to them. For online businesses, that pretty much means chat. There’s a good chance many of you reading this right now already have that as a part of your ventures, but you may want to take things further by putting more thought into it.
Chatbots were a topic of discussion for quite a while before seeing wider implementation. They had a lot of potential, and automation had already been a thing for a good while by then. Plenty of businesses have implemented chatbots with much success. Examples include Winnie, RapidMiner, Instant Translator, RewardStream, MyWorkout, and others.
The limitations of chatbots, no matter how “smart” they claim to be, only prove that live chat is still the most effective way to interact with customers and provide service to them aside from doing so face to face. With live chat, there’s no need to split test in order to bring conversions up. You can then employ old-fashioned sales with use of technology to do business.
3. Use Feedback as Point of Conversation
Staying in touch with customers regularly can be quite helpful, although being able to open up a conversation with them may not be that easy. You wouldn’t want to be seen spaming. Social media does make it easier to engage with customers, especially when they’re getting in touch with you through comment, chat, or private message to issue a complaint or giving feedback.
This is an opportunity to collect data from them, so you can follow up the conversation by asking a question regarding how they like your business or how it can can be improved or changed. You may also want to try making use of pop-ups, as long as you’re not using them too much. In any case, these methods may be used to open up conversations with customers.
4. Customer Feedback Survey
You are looking to do six things while creating a survey for customer feedback. It’s assumed that you already have a purpose for the survey figured out at this point. First is to come up with a compelling title that reflects the purpose of the survey. You then have to determine who you want to respond to the survey.
With that said, you must come up with the right questions to get the answers you need. Once you’ve sent out your survey and there are people answering it, you should track the feedback and extract the useful data from it.
If you employ email marketing, then you can ask those in your mailing list to answer your survey. You can include a promotional code as thanks, as well as include an advocacy program and a contest to make it more enticing.
5. Consider the Customers’ Voice to Market Your Products
Coming up with the perfect copy for your website can seem almost impossible since it seems like you have to read minds to come up with something that actually works. This is where feedback comes in handy, letting you understand how your customers are. When you know your customers, you can then get a gist of what voice works for them. From the kind of words they tend to use, to the tone they exude, you can then tailor the copy to suit their voice.
In market research, there’s a technique used to pinpoint customers’ wants and needs. It’s called the voice of customer—or VOC. It’s an actionable data point that can let you learn what your customers specifically want, as well as pain points, preferences, trigger words, FUDs, and other details that can help you hone in on how you can exactly speak to them through your marketing.
An optimal way to hone in on VOC for your business would be to have an on-site survey containing 3-4 questions, a post-purchase survey that customers can optionally take to gauge their experience; active data-gathering on the top 10 or 15 complaints, questions, and comments from customer service; interviews with regular customers on their experiences and why they come back for repeat business; and just listening to the chatter.
6. Include Customer Reviews
Enabling and showing customer reviews is an often-made recommendation in ecommerce mainly because reviews instill trust and ultimately entice customers to buy a positively-reviewed product. Customer reviews are perhaps the most effective method of increasing conversions in ecommerce business, and it’s also the most common way to get feedback from customers.
When you have the option of leaving customer reviews enabled in your website, it invites users to leave their thoughts on a certain product. The website then becomes more trusted as a result of customer feedback being treated transparently.
Regularly adding fresh and unique content is also great for boosting your site’s SEO, improving your search rankings for the product being reviewed and increasing the clickthrough rate as a result of the site becoming more interesting.
7. Customer Testimonials
About 9 out of 10 customers read reviews and testimonials when deciding to purchase a product, trusting them as much as they would personal recommendations. Most would come to trust a business that has real customer testimonials since it indicates that the business has nothing to hide.
Customer testimonials aren’t just about increasing conversion rates, traffic, product insights, or so on through numbers. It’s mostly about interaction and the power of social proof, which is not easily reflected by mere numbers.
8. Fair and Comprehensive Return Policy
Few things say a business cares for its customers more than a good return policy. Ending up with products that may have defects or damage through delivery is sometimes unavoidable, so you have to give customers a way to not make them regret their purchase by giving them a chance to return that product and get either a replacement or a refund. You have to let people know your business is virtually risk-free.
A good return policy is built around convenience. There has to be little to no obstacle between them and having their products returned for either a replacement or refund. You should give them an easy way to contact you regarding the return of a product, as well as ample time to decide and act on it.
As you can see, there are many ways to listen to your customers to know what they want. While you may be spoiled for choice with these various methods, do remember the simplest and still the most effective way to listen— is talking to them. You need to address them in your own voice to be able to connect with them as much as you possibly can.
A concerted effort to listen to customers will eventually be noticed, which can then lead to appreciation for earnest effort and more communication that can benefit your business. Making it easier for your customers to speak their mind should also go a long way to making your business as open as it can be to feedback.
Gabby Roxas is a business writer and content marketing strategist. She also has a background in entrepreneur and interior design.