Business and entrepreneurship are anchored on customers, like it or not. That is why it boggles the mind when you see a business or startup taking its customers for granted. Customer relationship management is paramount to the success of any enterprise. You need to be a brand that prioritizes talking to its customers. Why you might wonder? Well, several benefits come with talking to your customers. Notice I said, ‘talking to you customers”, not ‘speaking to your customers. Most brands speak more than they talk to customers. Talking there suggests two-way communication; let us look at the benefits.

Clarity Of Communications

Just because you are sending out content or messages to customers does not always mean they get it. You can go for a stretch assuming that they are getting it when they are not. Having a framework where you get and consider their responses or feedback is needed. This will help you figure out whether or not they are getting what you are telling them. Do you know that you can experience low sales not because your product or service is poor? Rather that can happen because customers are not getting what the product or service is.

Talking to customers helps you ascertain and ensure clarity in all your content and messages. You also get to understand their language or how they address things. An interesting example is that of phones. In some places, it is common for them to be called smartphones. In others, it is mobile phones and in South Asia, they are commonly called handphones. You can only know these variations by always being in conversation with your customers.

Understanding Customer Needs

Business or entrepreneurship is about addressing customers’ pain points or needs. It is a given that at times you can know their needs via general market research. However, several factors can cause the specific needs of your target segment to be unique. In some cases, the needs can change gradually over time. How will you know if you do not talk to your customers? The success of a product or service is in its ability to address customer needs.

I have seen many businesses or startups in Zimbabwe crumbling because they addressed the wrong needs. At times it can be addressing certain needs at the wrong time i.e. poor timing. What exactly customers need will always be a function of hearing it from them. No wonder why I always reiterate that everything your brand does must customer-centric. Knowing when and how to scale or pivot is best informed by knowing customer needs as well.

Builds Or Boosts Customer Loyalty

It is always underscored that communication is the key to successful relationships or marriages. Do not just think it is confined to just those two alone. Business and entrepreneurship are no exceptions to this principle of communication. Customer service plays a huge role in building or destroying customer loyalty. Most of that customer service entails communicating with or talking to customers. This can be when a customer is looking to make a purchase. This can also be when a customer has a query or complaint.

Do you, as a brand, effectively talk to your customers or do you ignore or rudely handle them? Studies have shown that roughly 60 percent of customers consider whether or not a brand effectively talks to them. It is the single most important factor they use to decide on being loyal to the brand or not. This is in part because talking to customers builds in them an emotional connection to the brand. In the same vein, not talking to them detaches them from the brand.

Promoting Word Of Mouth Marketing And Referrals

This is one of the best outcomes of talking to your customers. They will become your foot soldiers and for no charge. Satisfied customers can go miles in promoting your brand. They will even give you unsolicited advice or insights about how best to propel the business or startup forward. Typically, a satisfied customer can tell at least 10 other people. This will result in referrals and it becomes a perpetual chain reaction. All this can happen just by simply making it a point to talk to your customers.

Many brands treat or consider customers as just revenue and profit. This usually leads to them treating customers anyhow; they treat them as objects. Yet, at the core, customers are humans and want to be treated as such. Regularly talking to them, paying attention to what they say, and acting on it matters to them. If you look at successful brands in the world today, they value talking to their customers. Look at Elon Musk, for example. Through Twitter, he converses with people’s customers, something many billionaire CEOs do not even do. I recall this other time when someone tweeted concern about Tesla cars. Elon Musk promised to address it and it was addressed within 9 hours. That is what customers want – being talked to and taken seriously.