The success of any business relies on a number of factors, one of which is the loyalty of your customers. However, to retain customers, it is important to know their needs and answer them within reasonable time. Being in tune to the needs of the customers rely on listening to them more effectively. Here are some of the ways to effectively listen:
Customer Feedback Systems
For starters, investing in customer feedback systems will be a good step to learning about your customer’s needs. This can be in the form of surveys which can be accessed through various platforms including the computer, mobile phones, and android phones. Customer participation to the surveys can be improved by offering free services, tokens, or having lucky draws for the participants, where enticing prizes can be given. Business leaders should invest in a system where the data collected from the surveys will be best synthesized to provide a better understanding of the customer’s reactions.
Customer-focused means that the business is in tune with the customer’s needs and answering those needs as they appear. However, customer focus includes customer centricity. Customer-centric businesses consider their most valuable customers when creating new products or making business developments. Customer centricity relies on a good listening relationship with the customer. However, which customer? The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiativesays that all your customers can be segregated into three groups: the Meh customers, Good customers, and Great customers.
The Great customers exhibit fierce brand loyalty and will not shift products unless there is a very strong incentive. Meh customers, on the other hand, will shift loyalties the moment there is a drop in price on the competitors’ product, or any slight change in the rivals. Good customers have some form of brand loyalty, and can be converted into Great customers given the right push.
Customer centricity provides that the business should be focusing its efforts on the Great customers and Good customers, as any investment towards them will surely result in profits. The Good and Great customers also make up only 30% of the whole customer base, so in the cost point of view, it is much better to invest on a smaller group of people with sure rewards, than on the larger group of people, where there is a very strong indication they will jump ship at the slightest change. Thus, the business should likewise focus its listening skills on the Great and Good customers so as to come up with the best products and improvements to suit their needs.
Other Customer Listening tools
Listening to the customer doesn’t mean you have to talk to the customers directly. Another effective listening tool is to listen to the customer-facing staff. These are your employees in the frontlines, the ones with first-hand contact with your customers. They are the ones who listen to the customers as to their individual needs.
They are also the first ones to hear the complaints. Talking with your customer-facing staff can be more cost-effective than launching a full-pledged customer feedback system. Another tool involves looking for the customers who have already jumped ship through customer exit interviews. This can be difficult but can be done, depending on your product. For retail manufacturers, this may involve camping out in front of the rival’s business, and asking customers whether they have tried your product, and the reason why they didn’t like it, or why they changed it. By doing this, the business leaders will be able to know what went wrong on a previous act and what to do the next time to prevent it from happening again.