How to Listen to Your Customers (And Make Them Feel Heard)

Contrary to popular belief, the customer isn’t always right. They do, however, have some important insights that you can learn from. But if you don’t ask (or know where to look to find the insights), you could be left on the outside looking in. 

Why Should You Listen to Your Customers?

When you’ve been successful in launching and growing a business, it’s easy to feel like you have a magic touch. And if you aren’t careful, you can put up blinders and assume that you know what’s best for your business (and no one else). But that’s a pretty shortsighted view of things. 

As humbling as it can be to admit, you’re not the only one with useful insights and powerful ideas. In fact, your customers know a lot more than you give them credit for. By making a habit out of listening to them, you can strengthen your business in more ways than one. Here are a few of the biggest benefits.

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  • Reduces churn. Poor customer service – which is often a result of a lack of listening – is one of the primary drivers in customer churn. By listening to your customers, you make them feel valued. This reduces the likelihood that they bolt to one of your competitors. 
  • Increases loyalty. When customers are heard, they’re happy. And at the end of the day, happy customers become loyal customers. And do you know what loyal customers do? They advocate on behalf of your brand. 
  • Improves retention. Research shows that 91 percent of your customers will remain with your company after a good customer service call where they feel like they were heard and respected. If you’re looking for a good way to boost your retention rate, look no further than your ears. 
  • Encourages innovation. If you’re truly listening to your customers, they’ll tell you what they want. This makes it much easier to innovate your product offerings and pivot with laser-like precision. No more guesswork – just informed decision making.

When you look at it through this lens, listening to your customers becomes a no-brainer. The only question is, how do you do it?

How to Listen to Your Customers

Listening to your customers is simpler than you might think. Here are a few specific methods you can use to consistently collect valuable insights that positively impact your business:

  • Surveys

The easiest and best way to listen to your customers is also the most basic. In a world of advanced technology and “revolutionary” digital platforms, the classic survey still reigns supreme. 

If you’re looking to get your finger on the pulse of how customers feel about your business, try using NPS survey software. All you have to do is send out a simple one-question survey and watch as the data pours in. Based on the feedback, you’ll know precisely how people feel about your brand. These insights can help you make small changes to your customer service, branding, etc.

  • Social Media

As social media platforms have exploded over the past decade, they’ve gone from casual hangout spots to bona fide listening platforms where brands can glean powerful insights from their customers. Some go so far as to describe it as having a focus group at your fingertips, 24/7/365.

  • Customer Service and Sales Logs

If you aren’t already, begin recording every customer service and sales phone call that comes or goes from your business. Hidden inside each of these calls are rich nuggets of information that can help you improve and iterate your approach to marketing, sales, branding. and product innovation.

When monitoring these call logs, you want to zero in on the common threads. In other words, don’t get hung up on the customer who is super angry and frustrated over a very minor inconvenience. Likewise, take the customer who gushes positivity with a grain of salt. Instead, pay attention to the comments, concerns want, and desires that emerge over and over again. This is where the real value lies.

Putting it All Together

Your customers are intimately familiar with their needs, wants, and desires. They also know which products exist in the marketplace, where the voids are, and what improvements they expect to see moving forward. By gathering insights from those who know best, you can grow with much greater clarity and precision.

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