Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Listen To Your Customers



Understanding customers' unique challenges and recognizing the solutions they need is an essential element of any business-to-business strategy. After all, if you aren't honing in on what customers want, you're likely losing them to competitors. Fortunately, there are more tools available than ever before to support customer feedback practices.

Listening. Conversations are being conducted about your products, your brand and competitors on various digital channels throughout the web. Develop a comprehensive listening strategy to hear what's being said and why. Use this data to help drive decisions going forward.

Asking. Traditional phone polls by customer services representives, sales people, etc. have evolved to include additional marketing channels, including email and social media. Whether through a Twitter poll, blog comments or a website poll, there are more vehicles than ever to enlist customer feedback regarding what your organization is doing well and where it could improve.

Analyzing. Much can be determined by customer actions -- not simply customers' words. Website and email analytics give a clear view into whether or not you are providing the information or solutions that customers need.

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MY OBJECTIVE:

To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.

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I'm really just a "mature" guy picking up experience along the way. If only by osmosis, I've observed what works and what doesn't work under the marketing umbrella -- with 11 years in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble; 30-plus years in B2B publishing (including three years as a publisher); and 1,000's of calls on every size company starting with the likes of Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard all the way down to small, brash start-ups.

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