Not listening could be driving your customers away. Listen well and you’ll not only keep them, you’ll increase sales and customer loyalty.
Even though communication involves two parts – speaking and listening – I believe that listening is 2/3 of successful communication. Someone can speak all they want. But if the other party doesn’t listen – really listen – nothing that was said matters at all. And yes, there is a huge difference between hearing and listening. Hearing means you heard words and sounds. Listening means you understand the purpose, content, and context of the message.
About 70 % of all lost customers left because they didn’t feel valued or felt the service experience was lacking. And they should. If you don’t feel valued or that the experience was at a minimum “good,” why on earth would you continue to do business there?
Much of what goes into creating a memorable and desirable experience is derived from listening to what customers tell you. For example:
- What they want
- What they like
- What they don’t like
- What they need
- What is becoming a challenge
- What they are confused about
Here are 5 ways to listen to your customer and increase customer loyalty:
1. LISTEN to the customer.
Listen when they call to complain. This is an opportunity for you to be the hero and solve their problem. You can also teach them how to get the most benefit from their purchase or contract, etc.
2. LISTEN to what is confusing for them.
Make changes based on things that are becoming a trend or an issue over a certain threshold. Focus on making that form, procedure, instruction, etc simpler. The customers that voiced their issues will know you listened to them. They’ll feel valued for you taking their concern seriously and making changes as a result. They’ll feel you really want to do right by them to earn their loyalty – and they’ll stay.
3. LISTEN to what they like about your company and your product.
Use that feedback as a springboard to determine how you can integrate those high points into other areas of your company. You know you are doing well – identify what makes it so and carry it through as far as possible. And in most cases – don’t change much unless absolutely necessary. They’ve told you they like it. Mess with it and they may not.
4. LISTEN to what they don’t like about your company and product.
Seriously listen to that feedback. Hopefully it came about during a conversation which will provide the opportunity for you to ask probing questions to truly understand their perspective, the issue and to identify the cause.
5. LISTEN to their suggestions.
Customers may make suggestions on something they feel would make a positive impact to them. You won’t necessarily be able to do or provide exactly what they are asking, but you may be able to generate ideas that are on the right track or come close.
Listening to your customers is really a crash course on how to stay in business long term and build a loyal customer base. Your customers are telling you exactly how to keep them coming back to you – because they want to.
About the Author
Kristina Evey is improving the way companies connect with their customers and increase their profits, she is an accomplished speaker and trainer on Customer Satisfaction and Retention.