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Can I really learn anything from my customers?

The simple answer is a BIG YES!

Whether you like it or not, your customers are talking about your company on a daily basis.  

That is why it is essential for your company to be a part of the conversation, rather than just an observer. This will help you to really identify what your target audience truly think of your business and how it operates. 

In this article, we are going to look at the 7 things your small-meidum business (SMB) can learn from its customers, and how this can help to grow your business and build long lasting relationships. 

#1 Obtain accurate feedback 

While there is nothing wrong with carrying out market research to learn more about your customers, it can prove to be a lengthy process, and data from any research will have to be updated on a regular basis to keep up with demand, which in turn can be both costly and time consuming. 

However, obtaining direct feedback from your customers -- be it through social media, email or even word of mouth, allows your company to receive feedback directly from its customers. This feedback is often more accurate because it is obtained from the users who utilise your product or service on a daily or near-daily basis.  

This offers your company a great way to identify your clients’ needs and allows you to start the conversation directly with users on what they would like to see more of from your company. 

#2 Helps to increase sales 

Your customers are your company’s most powerful marketing tool, as they can help to increase sales through word of mouth and recommendations to their network - all without your company spending a single penny. 

The reason your customers are such a powerful asset when it comes to improving your sales and marketing is because they have been through the whole process with your company from prospect to purchase.  

This feedback -- be it a testimonial or a comment on your website or social channels -- acts as a great indication for new prospects looking to purchase, the same way we look at a review of a restaurant before eating there. 

Assuming you have provided great customer service, your prospects will view the positive feedback as an indication of what it would be like to become a customer. This then helps to boost their confidence and trust with your company, which helps to lead to those all-important sales. 

#3 Feedback is unfiltered 

One of the core advantages of customer feedback is the fact that it is unfiltered. Unlike a survey or star rating, asking your customers open questions allows your company to receive full feedback without any limits. 

These act as a great learning tool for your company, as they enable you to discover exactly what your customers think -- be it good or bad. 

One thing you must never do with this feedback is edit. Believe me, I know it can be tempting to tweak feedback, but the truth is, the majority of the time your customers’ views are an accurate depiction of how well your business is able to serve the customer. 

So instead of deleting or editing any comments, you want to embrace the feedback and use it as a learning experience to grow or improve. 

#4 Customer feedback on-demand

Thanks to social media and email, you no longer have to wait long periods of time for feedback from your customers.  

Through social listening, which is simply the act of monitoring key mentions of your company, you are able to see what your customers are saying in real time. One of the key benefits of monitoring these conversations is that it creates the perfect opportunity for your business to react and enhance the user’s experience. 

If it is a bad experience, social listening allows you to jump in and help before the situation escalates, and if it is a good experience, it allows you to further amplify the impact. 

This is a great way to build trust, as it shows the customer you value their feedback and are willing to act on it, rather than waiting until they contact you through your support channel.   

#5 Allows you to innovate 

Taking the time to listen to and acknowledge customer feedback is a great learning experience for your company, as it helps to define and understand your customers’ changing needs and expectations. 

This will also help you to identify areas in which your company can innovate to meet these needs, which tend to change on a regular basis, as there are many factors that impact customer behaviour. 

This is why you must ensure you keep up with feedback from your customers on a regular basis in order to stay current with technology and the latest trends. 

This will help to not only improve your products or services but also your marketing, as you will be able to use the same language and concerns your customers have presented to create an offer that meets their exact needs. 

#6 Highlights areas for improvement 

Now, before you market your product or service, it’s understandable that you would first test it out to ensure it helps to meet customer expectations, and that it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. 

However, no matter how much research you carry out, you will often find your customers are your greatest source of learning, as they will identify areas where they would like to see improvements. 

This could be your pricing, offers, response times or even usability. Since every customer has a unique situation, the benefit of this feedback is that it allows you to gather insight from multiple different scenarios that would otherwise be difficult to test out yourself. 

You can then use this information to let the customers know you appreciate their feedback and will look into resolving any issues they may have. While not every complaint will be relevant, if you are receiving multiple notices for improvement in one particular area, then this is a great starting point.  

#7 Highlight areas of growth 

We all like to know if our product or service has had the desired impact, or has even exceeded expectations.  

Customer feedback doesn’t have to be all about support and resolving complaints. It’s also a great resource to help you discover what’s working well and what your customers enjoy.  

This is a great indication to keep going if it’s working, and in some cases you may even want to amplify the process to maximise the return.  If it is a campaign that has worked well, or even a launch sequence, this also allows you to save the process for future use. 

Lastly, positive comments and interaction help to increase word of mouth, as your customers’ friends and networks see their positive experience, which helps to bring new users over to your company to find out more.  

Key Takeaways 

  1. Your customers are your company’s most powerful marketing tool
  2. Your customers help your company to obtain accurate feedback on performance
  3. Your customers help to increase the impact of sales & marketing 
  4. You want to appreciate both good & bad feedback from customers 
  5. Feedback via social media & email allows you to receive input in real time  
  6. Customer feedback helps you to innovate your solutions  
  7. Your customers can help to identify new areas for improvement 
  8. Your customers help to validate areas in which your company is performing well 
I hope you found this article to be of use. If you're looking for more tips around how to improve your customer service, check out this 20 Customer Service Best Pracitces e-book.