For any business, the customer is, without doubt, the most important person. It is therefore very important to focus your business on the customer so that you can ensure that your customer is happy. For a business to succeed, customer loyalty plays a very important role. A loyal customer not only gives you business but also recommends others to buy from you. To ensure the customer is loyal, you must understand what the customer wants. For that you need to listen to the customer.
The general perception when it comes to salespeople in particular, is that they talk a lot. This can be a problem, if you talk more, then it means you are listening less. That’s a big mistake to do, as not listening to the customer can prove to be costly. It is not just sales, every function in the organization, from sales to product development and accounts to customer support app; everyone needs to listen to the customer.
An important thing that we need to keep in mind here is that listening is not hearing. When we hear, it is a biological process, words hit our ear and are sent to the brain and we get to hear words. But listening is understanding the message in those words and understanding what the other person wants to convey. Hearing the customer is not what you should do, you must listen! How can listening to a customer help you? Let’s look at five ways you can listen to your customer and use this to increase their loyalty.
1. Listen to customer needs
When you start listening to the customer, listen to the needs of the customers. This is where most businesses fail. They are so intent on promoting their product, that the focus becomes the product and how good it is; when the focus should actually be the customer. Remember that your world should revolve around the customer if you want to succeed. So, listen to what the customer wants, understand the needs, so that you can then promote your product as a solution for the needs of the customer. This is always a better way for the sales team to acquire customers – offer yourself as a solution provider for customer needs.
2. Listen to what they like
Once the customer is with you, your customer service team starts working with the customer regularly. This is the make or break stage. After acquiring the customer, you need to keep him happy so he remains loyal. So listen to what the customer likes. If the customer is not speaking, talk to him on email, on phone or meet in person. Ask what the customer likes about your brand and your product. That is the starting point for your service processes.
3. Listen to what they dislike
Now that you have found out what the customer likes about you, find out what is it that he dislikes. What does he see in your company and in your product that makes him unhappy? This is by far the most important information you can get from the customer. What he dislikes is more important for you, than what he likes. When the customer tells you the things he doesn’t like, you get an idea of the problems he is already facing or may face. This is a golden opportunity for you to address the issues and convert the dislikes into likes. This information helps you to identify potential problems which you can tackle so that it doesn’t become big. So listen to what the customer doesn’t like about you and use it to improve.
4. Listen to customer complaints
A major part of customer support operations is solving customer complaints. A complaint is when a customer is dissatisfied with your product or service and is facing a problem. Listen carefully to the complaint and understand how much the customer is dissatisfied. Take action immediately on complaints. The longer you delay action on complaints, the weaker your relationship with the customer. A customer who is calling you to report a complaint is telling you something very serious, so make sure you listen to everything. Never cut off or interrupt a customer who is complaining. Firstly you are making sure the customer tells all that he is unhappy about and secondly it allows him to vent out his frustrations. Listening empathetically to a complaint is sometimes as important as actually solving it. When you actively listen to a complaint, you are telling the customer that you are with him. This will go a long way to assuage his feelings.
5. Listen to customer opinions and suggestions
Take feedback regularly and make sure your feedback asks questions not only about the product and customer service, but also invite suggestions. Listen to the customer suggestions, for they will give you valuable ideas for improving your product. Customer opinions and suggestions should be considered so that you can improve your product and service by implementing the ideas. Customer opinions are always invaluable.
Listening is something we can do easily. When we listen to our customers, we are improving our relationship with them and sending a message that we care. That will definitely help in increasing customer loyalty.