It is no secret, customers have higher expectations than ever before. Many of them have started using their money as their “voice”, and choosing where or where not to spend their hard-earned money. As a business or brand, one wrong move, poor levels of service or even a missed expectation level can mean the switching of brands to what is perceived to be a better opportunity or service provider.
In order for you as a business and brand to avoid this happening to you, you need to actively listen to your customers, analyse their feedback and action changes to any issues discovered, in hopes that this will help you to retain customers vs. having them go to your competitors.
So, why should you actively listen to your customers ? Before answering this question, it is important to remember that it is not just about listening to hear their problems, but rather about really connecting with these customers. By paying attention to your customer’s needs, wants and understanding how you can actually help them with what they are looking for, you can keep them as customers even after they have felt something was not what they wanted.
There are a number of reasons why listening is key, here are our top 4:
1. Lower customer turnover
2. Increase retention and ensure repeat purchase
3. Increase loyalty and WOM referrals
4. Discover opportunities and ways to up-sell or increase their basket side
The trouble, for most businesses and brands, is that we are generally not great listeners. So we put together a list of some “best practice” techniques that may assist you:
1. Let the customer speak, hear them out entirely – actively listen to what they have to say
2. Try to not interrupt, and be patient
3. Don’t be defensive
4. Engage with customers on their preferred channel where possible – remember not everyone enjoys phone calls or e-mails
5. Remember you are dealing with a real person on the other end, so treat them with respect
6. Empower the person speaking to customers to solve the problem - as much as possible
By utilising the above hints and tips, your business and brand is far more likely to avoid losing customers, than by doing nothing at all, or pretending to care in hope that the problem will simply disappear.
Crafted by Chris Midgley