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Do You Listen To Your Customers?

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listen-to-customersHusband comes homes from work.

“Hello dear…I’m home” he says walking into the kitchen.

His wife is waiting and greeting him with a kiss.

“How’s your day been?” asks the husband.

Wife: “Really good. I started an affair with the milkman this morning. He’s lovely”

Husband: “Oh good. That’s nice”

Wife: “Yes…I just felt I needed to”

Husband: “You deserve it”

How many of these type of conversations happen in households every day?

One partner (normally the husband!) doesn’t really listen to the other and they just pretend they are listening.

It’s the same with customers and clients.

Quite often we, the service providers, THINK we are good at listening to our customers.

We THINK we want to hear constructive feedback.

We THINK we will definitely act on the feedback.

BUT when it happens:

We choose to ignore it – “it’s only one customer’s opinion”

We say, “Who do they think they are?”

We DON’T take any action.

BUT as a service provider you MUST ask your customers for feedback…you MUST take each piece of feedback seriously…you MUST act on it.

A few weeks ago, I asked my visitors this question:

Do you love or hate my rotating banner?

Visitors could vote and currently, 50% of the visitors who voted said they ‘hated it’.

That is fantastic feedback.

Does that mean 50% of my visitors will never return because they hate the rotating banner?

Maybe. I’d be surprised if it were 50% but some won’t.

I’m not taking the chance – I’ve removed the rotating banner.

Thanks to everyone who voted – I really appreciate your feedback.

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27 Responses to Do You Listen To Your Customers?

  1. Kristijan January 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I liked the strait to the point build up to conclusion of this post. Now, just hope that your private life too reflects the ending 🙂 Cheers!

    • Andrew January 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Kristijan

      My wife has learned to know when I’m not listening!

      Andrew

  2. golearnto January 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Listening to your customers is so important to the success of small businesses – giving them a voice and actually hearing what they are saying can provide valuable insight into what it is they want from you. This also applies outside of the office as your post suggests, listening is a highly underrated and very rewarding skill.

    • Andrew January 6, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      golearnto

      Very underrated and very rewarding but hard to master!

      Andrew

  3. James January 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    great post. I totally agree. customer service and listening to what people say is one of the biggest things missing online. Acting on the feedback you get is one of the steps to proper relationship marketing.

    • Andrew January 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      James

      The listening and acting on the feedback go hand-in-hand…like you say.

      Andrew

      • Dennis Edell January 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

        You might wanna fix that typo. 😉

        • Andrew January 8, 2011 at 7:36 am #

          opps – have done! Thanks.

          Andrew

  4. TrafficColeman January 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    One of the best things you can do is give out questionnaire and get that feed back on things you must improve one.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Andrew January 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      Agree – then you must take action.

      Andrew

  5. Moving to Atlanta January 7, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    That sucks that it came out to 50%. Crap! Would of been nice to have a majority one way or the other.

    Personally, I woud of just tracked analytics and conversion rates and decided based on metrics.

    I think you told me early on that it was helping with conversion, so that would of been good enough for me to keep it…unless your visitors really dropped off, which is doubtful.

    anyway…

    • Andrew January 7, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Rob,

      The banners did help with conversion, I agree. But I feel that the hate % was just too high.

      Hopefully, client work won’t drop off too much as a result!

      Andrew

  6. Ari Herzog January 7, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    You lost me on the rotating banner analogy. Had you asked your visitors before creating one, you wouldn’t need to ask afterward. Listening is one thing, but it oughtn’t always occur after a fact.

    • Andrew January 7, 2011 at 10:36 am #

      Ari,

      I understand what you mean.

      I’m a visual person and I took the assumption (rightly or wrongly) that people would want to see the banners in action before deciding.

      Andrew

      • Dennis Edell January 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

        I think most would, yes

  7. Dennis Edell January 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Personally, I’m damn near obsessed with asking for feedback. lol

    The main problem is people wrong;y dumnbing down their following. They think asking is enough and no one will follow up; notice if you’ve actually taken action or not…they’re wrong.

    • Andrew January 8, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      Dennis

      The taking action part is crucial.

      When I was working in the corporate world, so many managers would ask for feedback and then never do anything about it.

      It’s the same with customer service…if you are going to ask for feedback…ensure you take on board what the response is and do something about it.

      Andrew

      • Dennis Edell January 8, 2011 at 11:56 am #

        Oh you make me laugh dear friend.

        How many interviews have we gone on and heard, “We’re a family here, never be afraid to provide your feedback”…

        Uh huh, yea right man, is there free pizza on Fridays? LOL!

  8. Alex Sysoef January 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Excellent post. I have learned from my previous experience that listening to what you customers are asking and looking for not only helpful but also financially beneficial.

    When you present information in format easier digested by your readers – you are bound to get more of them.

    • Andrew January 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      Thanks, Alex.

      My whole career has been serving customers and I quickly learned that getting feedback is like finding gold.

      Andrew

  9. Atul January 10, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Really nice post.
    But I like the husband wife secret conversation more 🙂

    ATUL

  10. MicroSourcing January 11, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    Unfortunately, the response “who do they think they are?” is something I’ve seen all too often. This goes for really large, self-assured brands who feel that they will never lose their consumer base.

    • Andrew January 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      I’ve often experienced that as well…as you say with the large brands.

      Andrew

  11. Steve Roy January 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Excellent point, Andrew.
    I have been known to be a terrible listener, just ask my wife 🙂

    It’s so true though. I take each comment and email I receive from my readers seriously. If there is critisism, I want to fix it if I can.

    This is the best way to give your readers what they want.

    • Andrew February 1, 2011 at 11:08 am #

      Exactly, Steve.

      That is the best approach.

      Andrew

  12. AjayUdayagiri October 29, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    I agree with the author words. As a service provider one should demand for the genuine feedback from the customer and should take it in serious, no matter the feedback is negative on or a positive one.

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