Listen To Your Customers. Did You Hear What I Said?

(c) Powered, Inc 2003 c/o Aaron Strout

I know I’ve probably blogged about how you should listen to your customers enough times and one of the things that I’ve seen at the conferences and panels I’ve attended is how people are offering their advice on how they’ve succeeded and steps you can take to improve your communication with your customers. At last week’s Inbound Marketing Summit hosted by Chris Brogan, this proved to be no different. However, let’s take it one step further…

Sure, we’ve heard the speeches and talks telling people to listen first before trying to sell your wares to your customers, but did you know that there’s a whole process on how you can engage your customers? Aaron Strout, VP Marketing for Powered gave a compelling presentation entitled “I’m Your Customer and I Can’t Hear You!” where it seemed that over time, there have been many forms of communication and after a while, too much noise was generated and marketers seem to now want to try and shout over each other and pray that they’re heard.

Strout says that is the wrong way. There are five (5) steps on how you can talk to your customers:

  1. Listen to what your customers are saying & where they’re saying it (’nuff said).
  2. Join the same communities your customers are at (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, GetSatisfaction, etc.)
  3. Ask questions of your customers & find out what you’re doing wrong.
  4. Engage and learn more about your customers.
  5. Build a community by inviting your customers dedicated to your company/brand/products.

Once you’ve managed to accomplish all five (5) of those steps, then repeat. You’re never done talking to your customers. Remember that it’s a cyclical cycle and moreover, when you talk to someone, it’s a two-way conversation. We’ve moved beyond talking AT someone.

If you’re running your own company or if you’re in the marketing department, it would behoove you to pay attention to the conversation. You can learn some really interesting insights. The power of talking can be very beneficial in the long-run. Just hear what happened to Strout when his company’s clients paid attention and talked to their customers.

  • 92% of their customers recommended their site to a friend.
  • 85% would recommend the brand.
  • 66% were likely to purchase something from the brand.
  • 63% had a positive view of the brand, and more importantly…
  • Clients experienced an ROI as high as 60 times!

Those are mighty impressive numbers by any standards and just imagine if they didn’t talk to their customers. If your friends didn’t talk to you, would you be inclined to pay attention to what they’re producing? Neither would I. I would brush them off as I have other friends that ARE talking to me and produce the same thing as the one ignoring me. It doesn’t seem like you need to suck up to your customers, but converse and show them you’re a human being working at a company. The more interaction (not mass advertising), the better your brand will come out in the long run. Just ask Aaron Strout.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.