Are you even listening?
Customer: Hi. I really would like some coconut water, then I’ll order my meal thanks.
Server (bubbly): Try our sparkling water with lime. It’s the best water in T&T and our #1 ordered beverage.
Customer: Oh no thanks, just coconut water. That’s my go to on hot days like this.
Server (even more bubbly): What you need is a piping hot bowl of cream of pumpkin soup. It’s made from exclusive organic, ethically sourced pumpkins, picked at their peak under the full moon plus it’s on special today!
At this point the customer “buss ah steups” and went elsewhere for lunch. Do you blame him though?
Everyone has an innate desire to be heard and understood. Is your brand overlooking this in its communications?
Do keep in mind, while it was enthusiastically brought to the customer’s attention that the sparkling water was #1 and that the soup was on special today, in the end no sale was made and the customer left thirsty and disgruntled. In this highly competitive market space the same happens with brands who get caught up navel gazing and are missing the mark on what their customers really want or truly need to be resolved.
So how can you avoid selling soup to someone who wants coconut water. Just LISTEN!
Surveys, interviews and social media comments are some of the best ways to find out more about your customers or potential customers. What are their likes and dislikes? What issues/problems do they need to be solved? Make touching base an ongoing process instead of only once or twice a year.
These insights and trends you have observed can now be funneled into new product development. Now you have the info to create more impactful solutions that can may be a slight tweak to an existing product or a game changer in the industry category.
Pay close attention to recurring complaints and suggestions for improvements from your customers. Enable your staff to resolve the easier fixes in a timely manner while management works on the bigger transformations. Also take a look at what your competitor’s customers are complaining about. Make sure you’re not making the same mistakes.
Appreciative gestures are gold when it comes to customer loyalty and satisfaction. Whether it’s a super fan on social media who always has great things to say about your brand or a customer who inboxed you about an unpleasant customer experience, these are both thank you opportunities. Exceed their expectations with a surprise factor like a free gift or discount.
Customers want to feel like they are more than just a number. More than just a sale. Help build intimacy and advocacy by looking at ways you can make your interactions and solutions more personalised. Co-create with your customers, let them be part of the action. Celebrate with them. Encourage dialogue about trending topics.
Satisfied customers become loyal customers and unofficial brand ambassadors. So instead of focusing most of your promotional spend on new customer acquisition, allocate more of that spend towards keeping your existing customers happy and watch the magic of word of mouth advertising do its thing.
So before you set out to shout from the mountaintops about how wonderful and shiny you are and why you think everyone and their next of kin should choose you. Hold that thought, sit down and take a LISTEN. The results may pleasantly surprise you (plus you won’t have to fight off any mountain lions when your ear is to the ground:)