Are you listening to your customers? Or are they ‘silently’ leaving you?
Listening is arguably the most important skill a successful entrepreneur can possess.
Yet, most entrepreneurs that I know are terrible listeners (except for listening to them selves in their head). And hey, I’m not perfect and catch myself not listening as intently as I should as well.
In my experience, entrepreneurs are almost ALWAYS in their own heads about everything. As a result, they miss what’s really going on in their business, with their clients, with their customers, with their money and so on… Not good.
And one of the worst areas of this is in the practice of listening to your customers.
Well-known marketing expert, Jay Baer shared an insightful little article recently on Twitter written by Stacey Danheiser about how we REALLY need to listen to our customers to retain them, NOT just send them more crap or ‘tease’ them into staying as she puts it. Reading that article REALLY got me thinking about this.
Its interesting to me because in my opinion listening to your customers is paramount and kind of obvious. I’m not being righteous when I say that. I just think about how I would want to be treated as a customer. I sure as darn well want to be listened to by the people I do business with so I’m certainly going to do the same for my customers.
But often times we get ‘lazy’ as entrepreneurs in our quest to seek new customers, launch new products, ‘make more money’ and we forget to do something as simple as listen to our customers. Worse, we become blind to it with all of these other ‘singular’ focuses and then it becomes and after thought at best. Not good X 100!
In reality, your existing customers are arguably your most valuable asset. They are massively valuable from a sales and marketing perspective AND a brand credibility perspective. Given that, they ABSOLUTELY should be a primary focus in your business. NOT an after thought or even worse a blind spot.
I blame some of this on gurus. There is so much emphasis in the eCommerce guru space on tactics for getting new customers and selling new products. And very little is said about retaining and growing your existing customers into ‘lifetime’ customers and brand advocates.
How do you think companies like Apple have so many brand advocates in their customer base? Why do people camp out over night to get the next iPhone and bring 16 people with them? Their products? That’s part of it. But as great as their products may be I would still venture to say it comes down to Apple intently and consistently focusing on their customers from EVERY angle.
Even worse, your competitors that DO focus on this will steal the mindshare of your customers right out from under you.
Sorry if I seem to be ‘doom and gloom’ here but we’ve never been known at GDW to sugar coat our experiences when we project them onto you. And we won’t stop anytime soon. That’s what you deserve from us ;0)
So, on to the positive and what to do…
I’ve said many times; your customer support department could be called the ‘Customer Retention Department’. Support is one thing; retention is another… And listening and communicating are THE keys in my opinion to retaining customers and growing customers.
Consider this as well… if you listen to your customers you will know EXACTLY what other products to offer them. Trust me, they will tell you… IF you’re listening. And given that your existing customers are your best customers to sell additional products and services to that seems like a no-brainer to me. So, if you take that into account, now you have a ROI metric for listening to your customers.
I mean think about it… What if you’re about to venture to China with us on one of our China Super Sourcing trips. And went there knowing EXACTLY what to source based on what your customers are saying they WILL buy from you.
Better yet, what if you could figure out a way to ‘pre-sell’ those products before you even leave? You do that and your trip and sourcing is paid for before you even step on the plane! That is powerful. That is transformational for your business!
(NOTE: Speaking of our China trips and our masterminds… At our yearly GDW eCom Inner Circle mastermind event we talk in depth about customer analytics, customer retention, customer listening mechanisms (both human and digital), launching new products to existing customers AND most importantly how to learn to talk your customer’s language. And that just scratches the surface of what we cover at the mastermind event over a weekend’s time. For more information on our yearly mastermind and to see if you qualify, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bottom line… Listen to your customers… Listen everywhere!
You’ll be surprised what you hear and it will up level your business massively, create lifetime customers and brand advocates.
That is priceless and well worth the effort.
Thanks for reading!
Join us in China on our next Super Sourcing Trip and source the products your customers want by clicking here.
Alan (our CEO, founder and 15-year eCommerce veteran), our team and I are also ALWAYS answering questions on topics such as this in our exclusive Facebook Group here. There is no charge for the group and not only do you get access to us but also to our million-dollar club of clients and peers that can answer your questions as well.