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Listen to your customers, but not what they're telling you

Maddi Prince
April 12, 2022

Listening to your customers is an important part of building out a product that people actually want to use, and it’s essential to growing the relationship with your market. 

Your customers have high expectations, they chose you to provide them with a service and/or product that can make their life better in some way, which is a lot of responsibility to take on. It only takes one bad experience to cause somebody to leave you in the dust while they jump to your competition or someone who “gets it.”  

According to a study by CallMiner, 82% of consumers say they would switch service or product providers after a bad experience with the company. That’s a scary high number! But how do we on the company side of things handle this feedback and apply it? 

We’ve come up with a few distinctions of when it’s the right time to listen to your customers vs. when it’s the wrong time to listen to your customers because some feedback is useful while some can be taken with a grain of salt. 

3 reasons why you should listen to your customers:

  1. Improve Customer Loyalty: When customers feel listened to, they become passionate about your brand. Make them feel like your business is their business, and actively listen to their input and show appreciation for their dedication to your product or service.
  2. Reduce Customer Turnover: As we mentioned before, 82% of customers will turn over to competition over bad customer service experiences. Making sure your customers feel heard is key to retention. 
  3. Make your brand memorable to your customers with meaningful interactions: One of our pillars at Clockwork is DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE, and for good reason. Nobody wants to deal with a jerk, be kind and empathetic in all interactions, especially with consumers. Being personable goes a long way in any industry. 

Actively listening to your customers is vital to the success of your business, but when should you take that input with caution? As industry experts, you’re bound to come across folks who don’t have a grasp on the same expertise. Taking in too much consideration may deter you from the road of your business goals to appease a crowd of few frustrated customers instead of thinking of the bigger picture. Your customers may think they need one thing and will tell you that, but in actuality, they meant something completely different and if you don’t know your market enough to question them, you may get it all wrong. 

3 reasons to not listen to your customers:

  1. To innovate beyond their perspective: Breaking into an established industry is challenging, you are guaranteed to run into those who are stuck in their ways and old-fashioned perspectives. You, however, are changing the space. Your vision might be too big for those to see, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong and they are right. Continue on the path you believe in. The most successful founders were told “no” hundreds of times. 
  2. To challenge the norm: Companies can become a part of everyday culture in the blink of an eye. Think about 10 years ago, Uber was not a household name and because they completely shifted the dynamics of how we think about traveling, they’re used as a verb. If the vision for your company shifts the industry, that’s a good thing. Your job is to get people on board with your vision. 
  3. Shock and surprise your industry: Build your company to change the market and make moves that have never been seen or done before. You likely started by seeing the need for your company in the industry - so be innovative in how you build relationships with your customers. 

At the end of the day, it is always important to take feedback, especially if it’s negative. But you have to know how to ask the right questions to get to the core of the feedback. Being an active listener to your customers can help you build a better product roadmap and build brand awareness for your company. If you’re a champion for your customers, they’ll be a champion for you. Plain and simple. 

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