The Cost of Not Listening to Customers

Success in business isn’t just about acquiring new customers or retaining old ones. It’s also about listening to your customer base—and following through on that feedback.

In the business world, customer satisfaction isn’t just about providing your consumer base with a good product or service. It’s also about listening to the customer—and acting on that feedback. Without taking that feedback into account, you risk coming face to face with the sobering cost of not listening to customers.

Your customers are one of the most critical aspects of any business. After all, they’re the focus of all your operations. As a result, the customer experience is something that every brand has committed to enhancing at every point. As SuperOffice defines it, the customer experience is their “perception of how your company treats them.” 

And this experience affects behaviors and drives loyalty.

Positive customer experiences lead to customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to return for your service or product. However, Management Accounting Quarterly asserts that customer satisfaction is a “moving target.” What makes a customer happy today might not be the same as tomorrow.

This is where customer feedback comes in. Whether through surveys or Twitter polls, it’s crucial to hear your customers’ opinions and reactions.

The Importance of Listening

One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is not listening to their customers. When customers provide feedback, they allow you to improve your product or service. And if you fail to listen to your customers you’ll likely encounter several negative consequences, such as:

  • Losing customers: If a customer feels undervalued, they may go elsewhere. Esteban Kolsky reports that only 1 in 26 customers complain—but the rest simply leave.
  • Damaged reputation: When brands ignore feedback, it shows they don’t care about their consumers. This can generate a negative response and make it difficult to attract new customers. Kolsky also reported that 13% of customers will share a negative experience with 15 or more people.
  • Negative press: If the negative responses to a brand are severe enough, it may generate attention from the media—further damaging a brand’s reputation.

Moreover, Kolsky notes that 66% of consumers who switched brands did so because of poor service—and 85% of that customer churn is preventable. In a study from HubSpot, 82% of customers will switch products or services after they encounter a bad experience with a company’s customer service. 

Failing to listen to and address legitimate customer concerns also increases costs. When companies fail to take action on valid complaints, they often spend more money fixing the problems down the road. So, it’s much cheaper to address these concerns quickly. 

One other benefit to customer feedback is regaining lapsed or inactive customers. As we’ve noted in a previous blog post about customer feedback, it lets you ask why they left or stopped, which allows you to plan how to get them to return. And that has plenty of benefits, including financial ones.

Where to Find Your Customers’ Feedback

One other thing about customers and feedback—you need to keep up with the times. Surveys are all well and good, but there’s more beyond directly asking questions. And today, there are tons of ways to find feedback that you might not have considered.

Here’s where you should be looking in order to get the right insights from your customers:

Customer Engagement

There are 4.66 billion people on the great wide world of the Internet. What are people saying about you? Check replies to tweets and other posts to gain valuable insights into what your customers ask of you. Post polls or queries and gauge the response. With more and more people communicating via social media, you should keep your finger on this all-important pulse.

Competitor Performance

What makes people choose a different product or service over yours? What are your competitors doing that other consumers prefer? By assessing what you lack, you may unearth opportunities to do more for your customers and cover gaps you previously overlooked.

Social Media Chatter

Global social media penetration is at nearly 56%, and social media has become one of the most crucial virtual spaces. This provides you with an opportunity to use social media chatter to stay abreast of trending topics and issues to keep your brand relevant.

Engaging with your social media audience shows that you’re in touch with the community around your brand and that you also care about subjects that are significant to them. This could be anything from the latest memes to critical social issues, but all of that shows one thing—you’re hearing what’s important.

Customer Service Calls

Always use your customer service calls and other forms of communication, like chatbots on a website to get insights. Your front-facing staff are often the most in-tune with how your customers feel about your products or services. Listen to the concerns and responses they relay, and ask what issues they most frequently encounter. Then you’ll know exactly what’s leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Feedback is an Opportunity for Growth

If your business involves offering a product or service, you need to listen to your customers if you want them to continue doing business with you. 

Today, 70% of companies delivering the highest quality customer experience have based their methods on customer feedback. Listening is an integral part of building trust and maintaining long-term relationships with clients. In addition, it’s the easiest way to boost brand loyalty and increase customer retention. 

Customer feedback can also help you identify patterns in what your customers want so that you can build products or services to properly meet their needs. When you know what customers want, you can improve your business by offering products and services that keep them coming back for years to come.