Understanding and engaging your customers has taken on a completely new meaning in the digital age. Listening to the pulse of customer experience is essential in this ‘Age of the Customer’, and harnessing the potential of available resources is certainly not relegated to just the sales or the marketing team. From product development to human resources, every person in the business now needs to listen, understand and act on customer requests, queries, complaints and demands.

Customer feedback

In his blog on LinkedIn, Charlie Breit tells us how having a digital ‘conversation’ with customers assures a business that they are providing the right services or products. This also helps a business learn ways in which levels of customer experience can be enhanced so that the next time around, the customer leaves with his shopping bags even fuller, and even more satisfied.

Rounded results

The right measures take care of the competition too. In fact, 70% of customers spend more with a company if there is a history of good service. And as we know, service can only be perfected when a business tunes into what a customer has to say.

More than just advertising

Advertising is you talking to the customer, and this is presumably well taken care of by every business. The listening part needs some work, and thanks to the increasing importance given to this particular sphere of business campaigns today, strategic moves by marketers allow consumers to present their perspective like never before.

How to Listen – Three simple tips

When businesses were mostly local, a smiling demeanor and friendly questions were all that were required to learn what the customer wants. In the digital age, these simple patterns are now obsolete and even local businesses are striving to gain advantages through the online sphere. Thankfully, digital marketing tools have kept pace with the changing patterns. Several digital listening and monitoring tools help a business listen to, and engage with their customers effectively.

Here are 3 simple tips to listen:

1. Using multiple tools and tricks: The one trick to learn at the outset is to make use of several tools, and to accept the fact that no one tool is enough to get the job done. The use of available channels helps you follow, collect and even scoop out valuable information. Apart from direct listening channels your business may have, in the form of customer feedback forums, forms or even customer care statistics, there are other external channels where you can learn more about your customer base too. The most popular ones are sometimes the most dependable ones too

  • Google products like Google Alerts, Google Trends, Google Blog Search and even Google News help you streamline the data you wish to get your hands on while Yahoo Pipes is a great example too
  • Twitter tools are of course aplenty and are as interesting as their names, with Twilert and Twazzap among them
  • Other channels and tools like Guzzle and Omgili prove to be great partners too
  • In India too, several ventures are dealing in analytics and digital listening tools, including i4c, UnmetricAnalytic Edge and AbsolutData

2. Maintaining a balance: Online, a fine line exists between collecting information and snooping. Users are jumpy these days and this is an important factor to keep in mind. So keep track of the tools being put to use, even if your trusted agency is doing the job for you.

3. Crunching the advantages of Social Media: Social media is of course a strong player in this sector as social media channels are widely perceived as personal platforms too. Here, customers are relaxed and are sure to speak their mind, hence a strong channel for honest and in some cases, blatant feedback. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or MySpace, each of these channels offer a peek into your customer’s picture of you, as well as likes and dislikes.

Whether it is a pharmaceutical company or a clothing brand, listening to customers is a crucial component of business. The setbacks of not doing so can be disastrous – from allowing the competition to take over your potential business to indirectly telling your customers that their opinion is not so important! As Karthik Chakkarapani puts it in his Salesforce blog, customer experience is the new currency!

How do you leverage available digital tools and resources to listen to your customers? How has it helped your business? And of course, if you are a customer, your opinion is even more important to us!

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