A to Z of Business Storytelling: Listen
Customers are your business – it’s as simple as that. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business. If you don’t listen to their needs, they’ll go elsewhere. But how can you get to know their stories about your business?
By listening. I mean really listening: receiving feedback – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and taking action to improve your business in your customers’ eyes.
I know - receiving feedback can be rough…especially in a time where keyboard warriors can hide behind their desktops and bark complaints that may not be rooted in much truth. But your customers’ feedback can give you insights unlike any other. Think of it like free market research.
It’s easier to listen to our own opinions when making business decisions. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gotten stuck repeating old habits that are familiar and comfortable, sticking only to time-tested decisions. Yes, internal decision-making is crucial to a businesses’ success. After all, we are the experts in our specific fields. But external feedback is arguably even more important, though (admittedly) often uncomfortable.
But Claire, I do listen to my customers.
I hear you. Sure, your “listening ears” may already be on, but are you giving your customers an open platform to share feedback? It’s important to create opportunities for your customers to easily provide feedback, beyond a basic “contact us” link. That would be like greeting someone from behind a closed door.
Open up by:
Whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly, providing regular content will open communication pathways. You’ll be seen as the expert that you are with informational updates and business-specific alerts. Plus, you’ll have your customers’ email addresses for direct communication.
Short questionnaires are the perfect way to establish two-way communication. Your customers will love the chance to give their opinion and you’ll love the robust information you’ll receive. Avoid “yes or no” questions and instead use this as a chance to acquire answers to your biggest questions like “What made you choose us over our competitors?” or “What could we have done better to improve your experience?” These customer insights can be applied to every part of your business – from the website usability to product feedback.
As you regularly request feedback, be sure to consistently sift through what you receive. For your business, that may be weekly. For others, it may be daily. In a time where everything can be shared instantly, I recommend checking in on feedback more often than not. A lot can happen in one Instagram thread in less than 24 hours. Plus, the more you reflect on the feedback you receive, the more patterns you’ll start to notice. “Double down” on the good and learn from the not-so-good. Take note of areas where – and from who – you receive the most positive feedback. For the most vocal customers, ask them to leave a public review or post on their social media page to build real momentum in attracting new, like-minded customers. They’ll love the chance to act like an ambassador.
Now that sounds like success.
Yes, receiving feedback is a humbling experience, but customers deserve to feel valued and heard. They’ll appreciate knowing that you’re open to improving your business to better serve them. In return, you’ll receive their continued loyalty. Stay open and receptive, changing what you can when you can. And while I wholeheartedly recommend taking action on any negative feedback you receive, pivot within reason. Too many changes made too often could put you at risk of losing your most loyal customers.
Are you actually listening to customer needs or just what you think they need? Take some time to consider how you might open up communication with your customers to create a unified brand story.
Now, it’s time I practice what I preach: how I can better serve you? @ me on Instagram - @go_verano.