Your Customers Are Talking, Are You Listening?

26th Jan 2017

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“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” said Henry Ford in 1921 on the runaway success of his single, inexpensive, mass produced car — the Model T. Ford Motor Company sold out more than 60% of all cars it manufactured that year, but four years down the line this figure plummeted to 15%! What could have gone so wrong to change things drastically for Ford Motors?

The answer is ignoring customer feedback.

Ford was so focused on manufacturing its hit Model T cars that it completely failed to listen to the evolving needs and tastes of customers. The result was astoundingly loud and clear. Ford lost its market dominance, making way for its biggest competitor General Motors. GM capitalized on the need ushered in by the new lifestyle of its customers and introduced a car designed for every purse and purpose and transformed the automobile industry.

The story makes for a compelling reason why an enterprise should be listening rather intently to its customers not only at the outset of a relationship but throughout the customer journey. A customer journey comprises of various touch points as the customers move from awareness to engagement to final purchase. It’s important for marketers to empathize with its customers at each of these levels, and make an attempt to understand and deliver on their experiences and expectations.

Why Feedback Matters

Research by Koyne Marketing states that 90% of business leaders believe customer marketing is very critical to business’s success.  Marketers should make an effort to nurture a lifelong relationship with its customers based on empathy, taking it beyond the realms of selling and buying. They should strive to be a customer’s friend and guide by understanding them, knowing their history, absorbing the language they speak, reaching out to initiate conversations and most importantly, listening to what they say.

John A Goodman, a pioneer in the field of customer service research and author of Customer Experience 3.0 stated that customer service can be a force of reckoning in driving sales and profit for a company.

Research by TARP indicated 31% of customers who encounter a problem do not complain. It also revealed that for small problems that resulted in either a loss of a few dollars or was a minor inconvenience, only 3% of consumers complained and 30% returned the product. The balance of consumers encountering this problem either did nothing or discarded the product. An average score of 25% of customers made no contact with the vendor and instead chose to share their dissatisfaction with others through negative word of mouth, adversely impacting the brand image.

Insight Into A Feedback

Customer complaints provide an insight into customer’s valuable quality assurance, service and marketing data. But the challenge is to use the data to make decisions that result in substantive action. To use complaint data to solve problems in design, marketing, installation, distribution and after sale use and maintenance, it is important to have a basic understanding of customer complaint and market behavior. This understanding provides a framework for interpreting the data and extrapolating it to the entire customer base. It allows organizations not only to quantify the implications of the data but also to set priorities and allocate scarce quality assurance resources to mitigate problems. In fact, unsolicited complaints submitted at the time a problem occurs are less costly than systematic sampling and inspection and provide more timely information.

Listening to your customers can be revolutionizing for your business. A positive customer experience can be a game-changer in breaking or clinching a business deal. So it’s important that the next time your customer speaks or complains you have your ears wide open. 

Our digital customer acquisition and engagement cloud, Proximity MX can help you build a relationship with your customers! Proximity MX can seamlessly unify location and online information by integrating with enterprise/CRM systems through cloud APIs to gain a holistic customer view. This innovative platform offers unmatched reliability and scalability, while leveraging your existing infrastructure investments in the best possible way.

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