How to Properly Listen to Your Customers to Build Brand Loyalty
To kick off this New Year, we want to focus on one of the best aspects of our business: our clients!
Without our great clients, we wouldn’t be where we are today. When we work with any new client, we see this as developing a new relationship, and we always want to create a positive interaction with them that they will remember.
Today specifically, we want to take the time to talk about an important element of positive customer relationships: listening.
That’s right, we want to examine the ways in which you can properly listen to your customers in order to foster strong relationships with them. Any time a potential client comes to you with a problem that you can solve, feedback on how to improve, or even just questions you may be able to help answer, it is important to really listen to them.
But why? When asking why we should actually listen to our clients, the answer seems like a no-brainer: we want to help them and make them happy so that they are likely to come back!
That is to say, one of the most important reasons to actually listen to your customers, is to build brand loyalty. Customer retention is key to any business, and when you actually listen to your clients, what they need, and ways you can solve their problems, they will feel valued and want to come back again.
Providing good listening is just one part of providing great customer service, and when the service is good, that is more likely to create a positive experience not just for the customer, but for you as well. Not only that, but if you are able to identify other needs or ways in which a client can use your services, this presents an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell within the same interaction. Who doesn’t like crossing off two items on their list at the same time and place?
As people living in the current age where we interact in so many ways with so many people on any given day, it may seem silly to go over how to properly listen to people. Yet, you would be surprised at just how lacking in listening and understanding skills a lot of us are! Communication skills are vital to any business, and working on how to listen is a major part of that. Also, it is never a bad idea to practice your skills, even when it comes to those things that you are good at; that is, after all, how you stay good at them.
If you are looking to practice proper listening with customers in order to build brand loyalty and increase customer retention, check out our 6 listening tips below:
1) Let Them Speak
There are few worse feelings than when you are interrupted in the middle of trying to explain something, especially if this happens before you even get to the crux of what you are saying. That is why it is important to stay quiet when clients and customers are explaining themselves, so you can actually hear all that they are saying, and so that they don’t feel as though you are missing the point of what they are trying to communicate. Not only that, but when people are interrupted, it can feel belittling as if you see yourself as an expert over them. Give people time to express themselves, so that they have a positive experience.
2) Actively Listen and Clarify
Tied closely to the practice of letting customers speak is the practice of active listening. When people are talking, we may be inclined to immediately start coming up with solutions in our heads, and thereby miss important elements of what they are saying. Be present in the moment of listening, and clarify any points that are confusing. A big part of active listening, in fact, is repeating back to the person what they have said. This is not just a way to clarify to yourself what is being asked of you, but also a way to let people know that they are in fact being heard when they are speaking.
3) Be Patient and Willing to be Humble
Being patient with people can sometimes be difficult, but it is important if you really want to understand a customer and what their needs are. It may take some people longer to pick up on information than others, so be willing to answer every question even if it takes a while longer than you expect an interaction to take. Also, remember that everyone approaches a situation from a different point of view. Understanding this will help you to remember that they may be looking at a situation from a different perspective than you. Taking this into account can help you from being defensive with clients when issues arise. Additionally, it will help you to be willing to take criticism and feedback to heart as a way of improving, rather than brushing it off as meaningless. See every new interaction and piece of information as an opportunity to grow!
4) Pay Attention to Body Language and Voice
The way we hold and express ourselves through our bodies are a whole other form of interaction in themselves. If your body language is coming across as closed off or uninterested in a customer, the person on the receiving end is likely to take notice of this. This goes for your voice as well. Pay attention to if you are sounding short or flustered with clients, as this can color a client interaction in important ways. And when it comes to written communication, your written voice can also make a big difference in sounding grumpy, positive, and professional with clients.
5) Focus on the Person, Not Just the Problem
When a customer comes to you with a problem that they are hoping you can solve, remember that they are people before they are an issue or a puzzle to be solved. Treating people as real humans and how you would want to be treated as a customer can go a long way in forming good communication and strong relationships with clients.
At the end of the day, customers are the backbone of any business. Treating them as real people with real problems and needs is just the first step in building a strong relationship. By practicing your listening skills, you will improve your ability to really hear your clients and be able to provide the best service possible to them for years to come.
Looking for more marketing insight and news? Sign up for the Fox & Forth newsletter.