There are many ways to succeed in business, such as quality products, good marketing, and a steady stream of investors – but the most important factor of all is the customer. Without the customer, there is no business really – no one to purchase your products or market your wares to. Thus, the question becomes: how can you attract new, and retain existing, customers? The answer is simple – listen to what they have to say.
Why listening is important
Studies have shown that as many as 86% of customers will move to a competitor if their current business does not provide good customer service or value their feedback. The loss of existing customers can be a devastating blow to a business, as maintaining a good relationship with existing customers is far less expensive – and of course much easier – than garnering a new set of customers and brand loyalty. And, as Forbes so accurately points out, what drives [customer] retention is listening, and just as important, acting on what you have “heard.” So, it is not merely enough to provide pleasant customer service agents who listen to feedback, if no action is taken to assess and implement this information.
The case of the Haypp Group
Moreover, the success of listening to one’s customers and using their feedback positively can be seen in the case of the Haypp Group. The nicotine company was founded in 2018 and was reported as selling approximately 80,000 cans of nicotine pouches per month in 2019. According to the Haypp Group’s Head of External Affairs, Markus Lindblad, the strategy used to achieve this success was to “[become close] with our customers [so] we understand their needs across different markets and customer segments. Only then can we be on the customers’ side and create proper change.”
Interact with the customer online
It is important to remember that interacting and listening to your customers can take many shapes in this age of digitalization and social media. Customers are able to contact companies directly with complaints through a simple Facebook post, and even tweet out negative experiences and reviews for other users to see. Thus, interacting with your customers on these platforms and showing them that you care about their problems will help to prevent some negative publicity from finding its way onto the internet. Of course, the reverse is also true, as listening to customers and building their loyalty will also make them speak to others about your brand in a positive light – and perhaps even use social media to spread the gospel of your business. Nothing persuades customers to try a business more than rave reviews from family, friends and even strangers on the internet – which is why brand ambassadorship can be a boon to any business – especially if you are targeting a more youthful or millennial crowd who tend to occupy social media channels to a greater degree.
Focus groups for open discussion
Market research is another route in which to gain invaluable customer feedback. Putting together focus groups and allowing customers to discuss your business openly and honestly will allow for natural suggestions and ideas to flow. Topics could range between anything from website usage to product quality and even in-store experience. If customers within the group are experiencing certain issues or challenges, you can be sure that they are not alone. These intimate chats with customers will allow you to remedy aspects of your business that you may not even have known were broken or lacking. Be sure to use experienced focus group moderators who can guide the discussion appropriately and home in on key issues. It is also important to include a large range of your target demographic, so that each segment can be properly heard and accounted for.
There are a number of ways in which to make your business more customer-centric, and it is important that you employ as many of them as you can, in order to truly listen to what each segment of your customer base has to say.