My sixth grade teacher used to say, “You were born with two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.” This is an applicable guideline for brands too. It’s hard to innovate if you are not listening.
Paying attention to your clients’ needs and ideas generates so many good opportunities for growth. Phil Hollows, CEO of FeedBlitz explains, “The only way we can compete successfully against free services like Google is by out servicing our clients and out listening our competitors.”
FeedBlitz is a content distribution company. They help bloggers and businesses get their content out to their audiences via email, RSS feeds and social media updates. The service automates the process, and makes it easier to get content — articles, blog posts and newsletters — into your customers’ hands.
FeedBlitz has carved out a strong niche amongst professional bloggers and publishers. They have the who’s who of “A listers” working on their platform, but they work hard to serve them. And one of the ways FeedBlitz stays ahead of the competition and garners loyal customers is by listening.
Let your customers guide you
If you are paying attention your clients will tell you what they want and need.
“We listen to our customers and the challenges they are looking at, and we ask how we can help. Sometimes those conversations will lead to a feature idea,” says Phil.
For example, FeedBlitz leveraged the 2014 NMX, New Media Conference in Las Vegas to solidify their product direction for the upcoming year. Phil explains, “We went into the conference with a decision to make. As an organization we were wrestling with three strategic directions that we could take for the year, and they were all viable options. Honestly, there was no wrong choice. So we were struggling to determine which direction to go in. Within the first ninety minutes of the exhibition floor being opened and talking to the people at NMX the decision became simple. The message was repeated by multiple different people from multiple different backgrounds, and it was obvious what we had to do.”
The decision was made by talking with customers and listening. “Just turning up and listening and being available is a huge competitive advantage, and it’s what we do,” says Phil.
Choose to listen
Listening is attitudinal. Phil argues what separates his firm from the alternatives is an attitude. He says, “It’s not just the product or the functionality. It’s our organization. It’s an attitude. Our people live and breathe this stuff. They talk the language of our customers, and are really committed to serving them better.”
Dialogue not only builds relationships, it creates understanding. As you connect and listen to your clients you gain insights and understanding, and that creates an opportunity to respond.
Companies with sticky brands listen and respond, and that garners customer loyalty. A business that is proactive and helps you solve problems becomes a valuable partner.