Andrew Nater

Listening to Customers

Customers are the foundation of any business. Without them, your business is dead. To earn customers, you need to listen to their needs, understand their problems, and build products they’ll buy to solve them.

Unfortunately, most people do not share their feedback. You have to be grateful for the customers who do share their experience with your product and push you to improve. They are invaluable and should be rewarded with excellent support.

To provide excellent support, you need to be an excellent listener. You need to:

  • Acknowledge their problem
  • Empathize with them
  • Assure them you will solve their problem
  • Deliver your solution

Acknowledge

People want to be listened to, not just heard. The simplest way to show someone you are listening is to acknowledge what they’re saying. This goes a long way in building strong customer relationships.

If you can’t do this, you need to seek clarification. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information. You should be able to re-articulate their issue so they know you’re truly listening.

This applies to customer interviews, bug reports, and feature requests. Get all the information you need to confirm that you understand their problem. Then reiterate it. Make sure they know you’re paying attention.

Empathize

Customer’s need to know you can relate to what they’re going through. Establish common ground. Share a time when you felt similarly.

Before anyone can trust you, they have to have a sense you understand them. Before you can solve a problem, you need to know the pain. Great products come from people who know their problem well and can deeply empathize with their customers.

Assure

Customers want to believe you will fix things. They are hopeful things will improve if you say they will. Don’t make hollow promises. Only commit to what you can fulfill.

Explain your process and how you plan to fix things. Don’t be afraid to share helpful details about your product. This will help you earn their trust.

Deliver

When you’re confident you’ve solved a problem, ship it! Get it in your customer’s hands as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid if it isn’t absolutely perfect.

Notify them when you’ve fixed things. Then follow up to verify it worked for them. If it didn’t, start the process over. Learn from your mistakes.

Building and maintaining products begins and ends with your customer. You need to soak up their feedback, pay attention to what they say, and try detecting patterns across customer conversations. This will help you hone your focus and build an excellent product.