Humans are not very good listeners.
For marketers though, listening to customers is one of the most important skills to have in their tool belts. Those marketers who listen are best prepared to respond to their audience’s wants and needs and solve their problems.
I prefer to use the term “listening to customers” because the term market research is closely associated in many people’s minds with expensive and complex exercises undertaken by large corporations.
In listening to customers, it is not just all about hearing their problems, picking up the phones, and answering all their queries at your service desk. But, listening to a customer is all about connecting with them and paying close attention to their needs and wants, and can fully understand how the business can help them. Always keep in mind that a business is not a business without them, the customers.
So, in this guide, we will take a deeper dive into why building customer relationships is so important as well as share tips to help you get started. Let’s see how you can become a better creative marketer by listening to customers.
1. Improve Customer Retention
When you get to know your customers, you can adjust your selling and communication style to match how they like to be approached, and as a result, increase the likelihood that they continue to work with you.
With a 60 percent chance that customers will make at least one more purchase after they have already bought something from you, there’s still some room for improvement. The only way to create this relationship of trust and understanding is by taking the time to listen.
2. Listen To Improve
Listening to your customers will make your business more successful. When you take the time to pay attention to your customers, you learn what they want, how your offering can benefit them, and how to sell to them. In turn, they get hooked on this wonderful customer experience and keep coming back for more.
3. Create Brand Ambassador
People talk, and if you listen to your customers and provide a positive experience, they will likely tell their friends, family, colleagues about it.
92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any type of advertisement they might see for a product or service.
Whether it be face-to-face or through their social media accounts, customers who feel listened to and enjoy working with your brand will become free marketing tools.
4. Engage With Customers Through Listening
Listening to customers gives your opportunities to engage with your customers about your brand.
For example, a customer might have tweeted about how much they loved your product, or they might have reached out to you on social media for a customer service request.
This creates goodwill with their followers and boosts engagement. Consider how your brand can do the same.
5. Listening To Customers Tracks Competitors
Listening to customers is more than understanding what people say about you. You also want to know what they say about your competitors. This gives you important insights into where you fit in the marketplace.
You will also learn what your competitors are up to in real-time. Are they launching new products? Developing new marketing campaigns? Taking a beating in the press?
Listening to customers allows you to find out about these new opportunities and threats as they happen, so you can plan and respond accordingly.
6. The Path to Customer’s Hearts Lies Through Your Ears
Want to appear empathetic? Then fine-tune your ears to the voice of your customers. Remember: Empathy begins with active listening.[bctt tweet=”Those marketers who listen are best prepared to respond to their audience’s wants and needs and solve their problems.” username=”ThatCompanycom”]
7. A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way
The key to being a good listener is the ability to put yourself into the shoes of the person talking. Empathy is the key that opens the door to meaningful conversation- the kind of interaction that can change lives.
In digital marketing, while the internet connects us all, it also builds a huge physical barrier. Always seek to understand your audience’s position, context, and life situation. That will help you connect with them tremendously.
8. Ask Better Questions
The simplest way to listen, and to prove that you listen, is to ask good questions.
If you need more details about something, simply ask “why”? You can rephrase it to fit the context, but make sure you are getting to the core of the problem. This is especially valuable when responding to comments on your blog or social media.
9. Listen to Customer Requests & Implement Change
Your customers are the reason your business is what it is. So, listen to their concerns, what they like, and what they want to be changed. If enough people are pushing for one thing, perhaps it’s time to consider some changes.
10. Provide Multi-Channel Communication and Listening Approach
Do your customers know they can reach you with what they need to? Do they know how? Strong customer relationships require active communication and listening skills. It means your customers need to be comfortable reaching out.
Let your customers know if you are best reached by email, live chat, social channels, text message, or other forms of communication. You should also know how they prefer to be contacted and be actively available to deliver a consistent experience across all the channels.
Here are some tips on identifying the channels.
• Understand your target audience – You need to start working out what platforms your customers are using and how they prefer to interact with brands.
• Choose the right communication channels– Whichever channel you opt for, the overall goal should be in driving conversion and also working in tandem with the other channels to provide a consistent and unified experience to customers.
• Focus on brand engagement- In order to sell your brand and create real longevity, you will need them to interact with you. You should focus on conversational engagement across all channels customers reach out to you.
• Tailor your approach for channels– A truly successful multichannel strategy needs content specifically tailored to suit each channel. Ensure to make the content different, but the message is consistent.
11. Recap and Summarize
This is a great listening technique. When you feel like you have a good grasp of the conversation, offer a brief recap of what has been said.
There will be a double win in doing so. Your customers or audience will feel heard, and you will solidify the ideas being discussed in your brain as well.
12. Offer Gratitude
The two mere words “thank you” can do miracles when it comes to customer service. When you use words like “thank you” and “please” graciously, not only does it build your reputation but also develops a feeling of being appreciated and the bond becomes strong between the business and customers.
Putting the customer at the heart of your business is important, but there are direct business benefits tied to listening to customers and Social Listening.
13. Take Action
Remember: If you do not take action, you’re only engaged in social media monitoring, not social listening.
Social listening is not just about tracking metrics. It’s about gaining insights into what customers and potential customers want from you, and how you can give them that.
Make sure to analyze patterns and trends over time, rather than just individual comments. These overall insights can have the most powerful effects in guiding your future strategy.