Are you listening to your customers? Really listening?

The thumbnail version:

  • Customers have opinions
  • You need to know what the customers’ opinions are

The full version:

I once read that in retail, only one in twenty-five unhappy customers will actually complain—the other twenty four just take their business somewhere else. This means that as the business owner you’re denied an opportunity to fix whatever is bugging them. This is of course a problem.

I’m not sure if the one-in-twenty-five rule applies to wholesale as well but even one customer walking instead of talking, is bad for business.

So whenever you have an opportunity you have to listen to what your customers are saying. Really listen. What better measure of customer satisfaction is there? And without customer satisfaction you have no business.

You can of course subtly probe for what they’re thinking but it must be subtle, without any hint of paranoia, and without being annoyingly persistent and intrusive. Good judgement is required. And weeding out the cooks my be required too because every customer base has a few.

But one way or another, listen to your customers; they’re your bread an butter.