In part 1 of this series, I talked about the importance of listening to your customers and a few things you might want to watch for as you begin looking for new ways to gather ideas and feedback. I also introduced you to a team I like to use – LAW. LAW stands for listen, ask and watch. In today’s post, we will take a close look at several inexpensive ways to listen to your customers.
The Power of a Simple Notepad
Listening is easy to do; however, remembering all the things you’ve heard can be a challenge. As a business owner, I’d recommend that you always carry around a small notepad with yourself and jot down the ideas, complaints or suggestions that you hear from your customers.
I would also recommend arming everyone of your team members that answer the phones or have direct contact with your customers. You might find that your customers may or may not be more willing to share information with your team, rather than yourself.
Now, here’s the trick. You and your team have to be vigilant. When you customers approach you and share information, take notes. Also, as you are walking through your store, listen to your guests as they are walking around talking. I’m not suggesting that you spy on them. Just listen. You’ll hear them say things like, “Why is this display here?” or “I wish they carried this product?” Obviously, you would want to help them in that moment of need, but then you take your notes and make small changes to your store that might make a massive difference.
Empower Your Customers and Make It Easy to Share
Set up a listening post in your store. Many businesses leave feedback cards sitting out for customers to rate or comment on the service level. This is a great idea, but why not take it to another level. Here’s the problem with comment card – more often than not, they turn into complaint cards. The problem with these is that they don’t help you innovate; they get you mad and draw your attention away from the things that matter most. Sure, we should listen and act on complaints. But here’s a better way to approach this situation.
Turn your comment cards/drop box into a ideas and suggestions center. It’s easy to complain and all too often we are surrounded by pessimists and negative thoughts that can take their toll over time. But you can move away from this and actually empower your customers to help you come up with some great ideas.
If you have a comment drop box, redesign it and turn it into an amazing ideas center. Create signs that talk about the power ideas and how much you value your customers ideas. You might even consider offering them a small, nominal reward if they come up with an idea that you implement. Don’t go overboard on the reward if you choose to do this. Instead, find ways to celebrate and recognize your customers’ great ideas.
Once you have your idea drop box going, put up a bulletin board nearby and feature photos and commentary on the great ideas that you have implement in your store. This part is incredibly important because, as humans, we have a need for recognition and we want to be validated. This is your chance to empower your customers and help involve them in something special.
Your customers have wonderful ideas and your most fanatical customers care about you and want to be a part of what you are doing. Give them a chance to do so.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at the second part of “listening to your customers” – ask them.