When you think of your customers, how do you picture them?
Are they friendly, appreciative, and happy to be using your products and services?
Or are they angry, complaining, and ready to hang you out to dry publicly every time one of your products doesn’t perform properly?
If your perception is of happy people, great. It likely means that you have strong products and services that help your customers in their daily life and they enjoy using them. It also probably means that you enjoy having conversations with your customers listen to their feedback and look for opportunities to integrate their feedback into your business process so you can make your products better.
If, however, the general perception at your company is that your customers whine a lot…maybe you need to start listening to what they are complaining about. Are your customers really just whining? Or are they pointing out actual flaws in your products? Given the chance to voice their concerns further, would they actually help you solve the problems they are complaining about?
Think about it. These are people who have already invested their dollars and their time to buy and use your product, why wouldn’t they be interested in helping you make it better for them?
Next time you review a list of customer complaints (you ARE reviewing them, right??), take an opportunity to determine whether your customers are really just whining or whether they are exposing actual weaknesses of your products or services. Keep in mind, if the weaknesses really are there, your competitors are probably listening to theses complaints and (if they are smart) will likely try to capitalize on them. Why not empower your customers to help you solve the problem?
Ask them what they would like to see as part of the solution. Give them the opportunity to contribute to your success. Reward them when they help.
Don’t treat your customers like the enemy, look at them as members of your community who have a vested interested in your success.
As always, I love comments, feedback, and ideas on how to better connect with customers, especially when they involved using social channels to connect. Have an idea or experience? Share it in a comment so others can benefit!