Idea in brief
2020 has been a year of change. Client needs and expectations changed. In response, forward-looking firms are adopting continuous listening to keep their finger on the pulse. Continuous listening starts with making it easy for clients to share their needs and experiences when and where they have something to say. That means keeping surveys short and using more open questions.
How much of an advantage does client listening give you?
2020 has been a year of change. Client needs & expectations changed. How firms deliver services to their clients changed.
But has the way you listen to your clients evolved at the same pace?
The changing face of client listening
I’ve heard of some firms adopting continuously listening to keep their finger on the pulse. Discovering how the world is looking and how priorities are changing for their clients.
But I’ve also heard about firms who had to pause client listening because they were too busy.
5 client listening tips for restoring your competitive advantage
So here are 5 simple ways to make client listening your competitive advantage again:
1) Ask little & often.
Long annual surveys are too hard to complete or analyse, and reporting takes too long. Instead, regularly ask 1 or 2 questions that provide actionable insights.
2) Ask open questions.
Multi-choice questions have their uses, but too often they end up putting words in people’s mouth. When your questions start with ‘how’ or ‘why’, give people the space to tell you the real story. These open comments are a goldmine of insights, highlighting emerging trends repeating problems and the emotions your brand creates. They’re also a great source of new client testimonials!
3) Listen where conversations are already happening.
For example, are your clients talking on Twitter, LinkedIn or review sites?
4) Share customer stories.
Make customer storytelling part of team and management meetings. Make it a standing agenda item, a 5-minute segment where someone shares a recent client experience, good or bad. This simple routine can spark new ideas, as well as providing a great way to share positive feedback.
5) Close the loop.
Demonstrate you’re listening by sharing what you are hearing from your clients, and how you are responding. Showing clients, and prospects, that you are actively listening and taking action, is the biggest driver of future responses. It also reinforces key brand messages around trust, transparency and flexibility.
“It’s no exaggeration for me to say listening to our clients is the most significant influencer of how we shape our business.”
Simon Boss, Chief Executive, Shoosmiths
For more client listening tips, and suggestions for how to keep your listening programme up to date, click here to read our complete guide to client listening.