We all know how important it is to listen to our customers. The best way to know and serve a customer (or anyone) is to start by listening to them.

But it can be hard to listen 

But if you run an online service, its hard to listen to your customers:

  • Your interaction is primarily electronic, through your application.  You and your customers are happy about that!  But this means you aren’t talking to them.
  • There are usually too many customers to talk to them all.  Well that’s not true.  You can talk to them all.  There are too many customers to listen well to them all.  

 Of course, there are some best practices for listening:

  • Survey your customers.  Net promoter score is a great way of asking quickly if they are willing to promote you to their friends.
  • Talk to them when they reach out to you, for instance, when they call your call center.
  • Interact with customers on social media. 
  • Capture feature requests, suggestions, feedback with tools like getsatisfaction and uservoice.

But all of these methods have shortcomings:

  • Partial.  You can’t survey or talk to everyone.
  • Occasional.  The more you survey them, the more tired they become. 
  • Qualitative.  This is a strength and a weakness.  Sometimes what customers’ words and actions are in alignment.  Often they aren’t.  

Actions speak louder than words

The good news is that, if you are an online service, your customers are talking to you with every action they take (or don't take) in your application and with your company. 

They are telling you what works, what doesn't work, how engaged they are, and whether they are ready for an upsell or ready to churn.  

Leveraging your knowledge of your ongoing customer interaction doesn’t replace other means of listening but it does give you a way to listen to your customers that is:

  • Complete.  You can be listening to all of your customers.
  • Constant.  You can stay up to date on their interaction with you without tiring your customers.
  • Quantitative.  Based on what customers actually do not what they say they will do.

This kind of customer engagement insight can be a powerful additional way to listen to your customers.  But it can be hard to build on your own.  You need to collect event data from your application, store it, and process it to give insight.

There are tools and services available to help.   Apptegic is one that we particularly like!  We have built it to help you listen to what your customers are doing and respond with better products and better service.

What are you doing?  How do you listen?