We know Steve Jobs never asked his clients what they wanted. Mark Cuban doesn’t recommend it either.
Many business owners find it unnecessary to ask customers what features they want to see in their product . After all, no one knows better than the owner where a business needs to go. Plus, your customers don’t really see the value or a particular need before using the new product.
But then your education and your relationship with customers begins when you actually bring your product to market . When you are looking for your ” Product Market-Fit “. This is when you need to ask customers questions and start listening to them.
Why should we listen to our customers?
What do they like about the product, what do they think should be improved? How do they talk about your product on social media? Here are the main benefits of listening to your customers.
You build a relationship with your customers
When a customer comes to you with some problem, your customer support mission is to get to the bottom of it.
You can do this by asking questions, listening, and trying to understand their needs . This type of approach, instead of talking and insisting on the one resolution that you think is the best, will benefit you. When a customer feels they can count on you, they become loyal . This is where your initial marketing expenses pay off, with strong customer lifetime value .
Reduce your attrition rate and improve your customer retention
Poor customer service is the second most common reason customers switch providers when it comes to churning.
When customers don’t feel valued during a service interaction , they quickly turn to your competition for help. In fact, the vast majority of your customers will be willing to pay more for another supplier if they get a better customer experience .
You get feedback with which you can improve
The feedback gathered from your customers can be a great source of learning. Especially when they come from customers who are not happy with your product . They can give you insight that will allow you to bridge the gap between their expectations and what a company is capable of delivering.
Just avoid sending them surveys with tons of questions . Learn how to get feedback from your customers first. The best way to get real feedback is to look at customer reviews .
Read customer reviews to understand what they want, leverage them and then respond to them to show you’re listening. This will show your current and potential customers that you are listening and that you are looking to meet their needs.
Identify opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling
Listening to customers isn’t just a way to improve customer satisfaction . It is also a tool that you can use for up-selling and cross-selling.
For example, suppose your customer support team is troubleshooting a problem for a customer. When the customer explains his problem, he emphasizes his frustration with the limits of use of your tools . They constantly face restrictions and need more storage space to house their data.
Your coworker could explain the benefits of your premium plan and how they could solve their issues. If the customer is interested, your coworker could refer them to your sales team and close the deal .
You boost your sales
There is a big difference between a salesperson and a customer support rep who listens instead of just talking and selling . When you ask questions and focus on listening to customers’ answers, you get to the bottom of their needs. This allows you to provide the right solution for them, not just the one you want to sell.
You also put customers first , how they may feel and that makes them more likely to buy from you.
In addition to listening to customers, sales reps can use the content customers write about the brand to get more business. For example, sales reps use reviews to increase sales and close more business because of the trust and credibility they bring. The famous social proof how important!
Create incredible interactions with your customers
When you actively listen to another person, the conversation automatically becomes personal . You invest yourself in the dialogue and the role you play in the experience. When your customer support team are engaged in a conversation, they’re more likely to go above and beyond for their customers . This is because they understand the customer’s needs and are committed to providing them with a pleasant service experience .
While most customer service teams know they need to listen to customers, many don’t know how . And it doesn’t matter. Listening to customers in a way that consistently produces a positive outcome is not as easy as you might think.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up some best practices you can use to improve your listening skills below.
How to listen to your customers?
Let the customer do the talking.
You cannot listen to another person if you are speaking r. So to really listen, your teams need to stay quiet until the customer has finished explaining their problem. Even if they already know the solution, interrupting them makes your team seem impatient . It is best to wait until the customer has finished speaking because you never know what information they may have that could change the case.
Stay humble and patient.
It can be frustrating to work with a customer who is unfamiliar with your product or service. They don’t know the basics, they fumble with terminology, and they feel like you need to hold their hand every step of the way. These are the cases where your coworkers can mentally withdraw and overlook costly details .
In these cases, it is important that employees stay calm and remain humble. Remember that at one time they were just as new to the product and probably felt just as lost when they had questions. Every question is important, so your team should give each and every one of them the same importance no matter how the case develops.
Engage with customers on their favorite channels.
The goal of customer service is to make people more comfortable with your business . This includes communicating with customers on the channels they prefer . For this, your team must have an in-depth knowledge of your customers.
It is also an opportunity for customer service to align with marketing. Ask department managers to assess your customer personas and identify which channels your customers use the most.
For example, if you are targeting a Gen Z audience, you might find that social networks including Tik Tok and Instagram are their preferred communication channels. You can therefore assign these types of missions to your team in charge of your social network accounts to answer questions that customers may ask. This way, you reduce friction in the customer experience by meeting them on a channel they are already using.
Practice active listening.
Active listening is a communication approach that salespeople use to close deals. However, this method of interacting with customers applies perfectly to customer service.
Active listening emphasizes the customer’s speech . Rather than rushing to find a quick fix, she encourages reps to think only about what the customer is saying, then repeat the problem back to them to make sure they fully understand it. This shows the customer that your representative is invested in the matter and that he understands the problem.
Focus on the person as well as the problem.
No one likes to hear “I told you so”, especially not customers. Even if your employee has found the perfect solution, they should be careful about how they present it to customers . Saying the right wrong thing at the wrong time is a perfect way to derail a customer service case.
In order for representatives to come up with their solutions in a timely manner, they need to pay attention to the person as well as the problem. They need to demonstrate emotional intelligence and determine how the client will react to different responses at different times. This will help them give advice that the client can trust.
To find out more, then read our 6 tips to make every customer interaction amazing .