How can I grow my customer base? How can I build a large following of loyal fans? Well, here is the simple answer…LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!
- Review every customer satisfaction survey. How many times do you look over surveys and when you see good scores, you put it down and look for ones with bad scores believing there is nothing to learn if there are good scores? This assumption can cause you to overlook critical details. Even “satisfied” customers can leave clues for things that can be improved. Remember, a satisfied customer is just one mistake away from being dissatisfied or leaving altogether.
- Search out customer comments on social media. Many customers delete surveys or don’t return them as a course of habit. However, this does not stop them from rating you elsewhere. Go online and do some snooping around. Search for “customer comments” on your company. Search Yelp!. Search “reviews” or “service reviews.” Be diligent to find out what the word on the street is about you.
- Ask your employees what’s going on. Your frontline staff hears a lot and many times they are hesitant to bring it up for a variety of reasons. Make your business a safe place where employees can bring up what they hear without fear of being a troublemaker. Welcome this input, in fact, encourage it.
- Talk to customers. When was the last time you went out and met with actual customers and got real feedback? Many business leaders simply watch their business from the sidelines, or worse yet, from the press box and never get their hands dirty by getting face-to-face with their clients. Get out there and ask the hard questions. The greatest leaders take the good with the bad and act on the bad.
What you do with what you learn is a subject for another post but learning from your customers is the first critical step to getting real about your business and correcting the things that are keeping you from developing a huge base of loyal customers. Whether it is fear of learning the truth or just simple laziness, learning from your customers is vital to business survival for the long term.