It may be common knowledge now that hearing from customers about what they really want and need from your organization is a key component to a successful customer experience. And while sending a survey once a quarter asking a few basic questions might be enough to pat yourself on the back, it’s not enough to really understand your customers’ needs.
Here are a few ways to listen to your customers that go beyond the survey.
1.Train your frontline employees to ask.
Help people who interact with your customers every day understand that gathering information, both formally and informally, is part of their role. Encourage them to ask questions, observe, and have a way to provide that feedback to the rest of the organization on an ongoing basis.
2. Observe, observe, observe.
Watching how your customers behave while they are interacting with you can provide a tremendous amount of information. While a customer might reply that he or she is satisfied, observing how their tone changes when you give them a price quote gives you immediate feedback about pricing. Don’t underestimate the power of watching and learning from your customers in your environment.
3. Are you asking why they leave you?
In a recent experience of mine, I filled out the appropriate form to cancel a membership. In the form, I provided specific reasons on why I was leaving. The form requested this specifically. I have expected to hear from someone within the organization. Instead, the only communication I received was a form letter about canceling addressed to “valued member.”
Unfortunately, this is a standard practice. Organizations ask for specific feedback and then don’t respond or do anything with it. If your customer is sharing, make sure you are prepared to respond.
4. What are your referrals telling you?
When customers are kind enough to refer other customers to you, are you listening to why? When customers share that Johnny referred them because he was so happy with the service, that is information to share and improve best practices. By following up directly with Johnny, your organization can discover what’s working well and what should be brought to the forefront of your marketing, sales and onboarding practices.
5. Your customers like to hear from you!
In many organizations, there is so much process around customer outreach that this basic idea gets lost. Any executive or team member should feel empowered to call a customer once a week, once a month, or even once a day. Asking what’s going well with the relationship and what can be improved goes a long way toward not only gathering feedback but also building goodwill.
There are so many ways we should be listening to our customers, and yet we believe sending a survey is enough. Challenge your organization to find creative ways to really listen to your customers. Discovering and understanding their wants and needs in these ways can help your organization innovate and improve the customer experience.