It is really great that you care about your customers. You do surveys, you listen to what they say when you have them on the phone and of course when you meet in person. However, wouldn’t it be better to really listen to what your customers have to say, whenever they say something (about you, your product, your service, what they like and what they are frustrated about, what their issues are, what your competitors do….)?
As companies build their social relationships with their market constituencies, they need to rethink the “listening” part. We hear the “Listen to your customers” every day. We hear business people answer: “Of course we listen” and at the same time customers saying “nobody is listening” – so there must be a discrepancy?
Surveys are completed by people that:
1) Are really angry about the service
2) Have a lot of time
3) Start to be nice and then stop at page 2 because it is way too much.
1) Because typically other than “thanks for taking the survey” nothing comes back.
2) The requests one may have made a year ago and again 6 month ago and now again – is not even recognized. We all had that experience more than once in the past.
3) Surveys ask questions the company wants to know about, but usually don’t even allow the surveyed to say what they want to say
Top companies build their social networking groups and monitor what their customers actually DO SAY. Social media monitoring is happening in real time to learn what people say in Twitter, on Facebook, Linkedin and many other places. Listening 2.0 is a new quality of customer care – if you care.
A few simple steps to rethink your listening pattern:
Don’t interrupt your customer with surveys or quality questions. Make sure you listen whenever they talk to you directly or more important indirectly.
2) Customers talk
You can’t control it. But you can make sure you at least know about it. Take some monitoring tools like Filtrbox, Techrigy or Scoutlabs or one of the 100 other tools and start monitoring what’s going on.
Too much information is just ending up in a database. Nobody expects in instand solution. But everybody expects a response. Not an automatically fabricated “thank you”, but an individual response to a serious question or issue. If the customer cares to invest time in you – he can absolutely expect your investment in him. And you listen again.
Many issues are complicated, expensive to solve or even unsolvable. The most successful method in dealing with those issues is involving the customer in a solution. You will be surprised how helpful customers are. Co-creation is one of the most economic ways of product development and at the same time one of the most successful. You are listening again – much more than you ever did before.
Now you listen to your customers as they promote and advocate the solution you jointly developed. Customer advocacy: Priceless. This is the real fun part of the listening – but you gotta go through the process described before.
Thoughts? I listen :-)