2. Invest in listening at every level. Target all personas in your ecosystem. Which customer groups experience the most pain? Which drive the most revenue? Who are your greatest brand advocates? Don’t fear their feedback.
3. Integrate insights into one narrative. Tell one story behind the numbers. Just as you want to balance your listening across channels, you want to balance your data with a story. Listening tours, advisory boards, and focus groups bring color and context to scorecards and trend lines.
4. Operationalize insight reviews. Integrate partners and customers into strategic planning and assign an accountable owner to each metric or measurement that stems from what you learned when listening. Does the executive team plan future products or programs at an offsite or every Monday morning? Wherever planning takes place, save a seat at the table for the customer’s voice.
5. Invest in intelligence and automation to drive accountability. Automating analysis and reporting saves your team valuable time and enables real-time collaboration between employees, channel partners, and customers. A sensing tool or machine layered on top of your qualitative feedback is one of the most effective ways to unlock intelligent insights.
6. Inspire a customer listening movement. Sometimes the team sharing customer feedback is perceived as the “bad news” team. Instead, motivate your team and your stakeholders to stay engaged and keep acting on customers’ needs by recognizing results and rewarding teams that become listening champions.
7. Close the loop with your customers. Listening means you need to communicate. It’s unrealistic to take action on every piece of feedback, and customers don’t expect you to do everything they ask. But they do expect to hear back from you on what you are doing, what you’re not able to do, and what else you need from them for a successful partnership.
Designate enough time and resources to rethink your current sense-and-respond capabilities and make a change. How can you evolve any “old school” ways of working to drive more value for your partners and customers? Get serious about uniting your marketing, commerce, sales, service, product, and IT teams to actually hear what partners and customers are saying and make changes.