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Five tips on how to listen to your customers

Advice from three masters of social listening

Five tips on how to listen to your customers
[Images: artishokcs/iStock; MaksimYremenko/iStock]

Three masters of social listening offer advice on how to glean insights from key constituents.

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1. Be Agile

Behavioral data doesn’t inspire people. Dig into the why behind the numbers using an agile research approach. Survey responses and real customer stories restore a necessary human element to your quantitative data. —Christine Rimer, senior vice president, SurveyMonkey

2. Embrace the Negative

There are thousands of things you could do to improve customer experience. Negative feedback helps you prioritize the major pain points on that list. It’s critical to pay attention to the people you’re not delighting. —CR

3. Enlist Your Customers

Involve your customers in the development of your product. Ask them specific questions about all facets of the design—you will get amazingly detailed and helpful ideas. Then celebrate your customers’ input when the product comes out! Everyone wins. —Amanda Hesser, cofounder and CEO, Food52

4. Get Real

As research has evolved over the years, our consumers have more ways to share and connect than ever. Most brands can head to their Instagram pages or retail sites and get real-time, candid feedback. —Leslie Miller, director of marketing, ice cream North America, Unilever

5. Do Your Research

We wanted to understand from vegans and vegetarians how they snack, and they told us they ate a lot of healthy things. When we actually went to their homes, in addition to healthy food, we found indulgences like chips and ice cream. —LM

A version of this article appeared in the November 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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About the author

Noted expert on nicotine gum chewing and Hawkeye wrestling fan, Jay Woodruff is a contributing editor at Fast Company. After helping launch the quarterly DoubleTake, he joined Esquire and later held senior editorial positions at Entertainment Weekly and oversaw digital at Maxim, Blender and Stuff

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