Green road sign that reads "customer needs next exit".

If running a business were easy, then everyone would do it. But this is certainly not the case, and being an entrepreneur comes with its extensive baggage of constant challenges. One of these obstacles is failing to understand your customers.

At some point, every business will face the reality that not every customer will be satisfied with their purchase, and the more they try to ignore it, the more it can damage their reputation.

Employers and employees can get so wrapped up in reaching goals and meeting deadlines that they forget that there is an actual person with opinions, expectations, and influential power behind every sale.

If there is one rule that every company should follow, it is to actively listen to its customers. After all, without them, no one would have a business to run.

In this final chapter of our 5-week series, we will examine the damaging effects that can result from ignoring your customers’ voices and explore ways to overcome this challenge and prevent this issue from arising in the first place.

What Happens When You Ignore Your Customers?

Your Business Stops Growing

If you fail to recognise your customers’ needs and listen to their feedback, you will never successfully improve your business. Yes, you may be able to forecast the following steps and make changes based on your personal opinions, but it’s a risky move. In fact, to see if it’s the right choice, you would have to trial this change and see how your audience reacts to it, making this tactic both inefficient and unpredictable.

Every business is different, and although there might be a general guideline for improvements, not understanding your customer needs could cost you precious time and money.

Your Reputation and Trustworthiness Decline

As mentioned at the beginning, the more you ignore your customers, the more it can damage your reputation.

In this digital age, shoppers have more power than ever before, and if they are disappointed and feel ignored, they will vent about it not only to their friends and family but also online in the form of negative reviews. Also, the more of these comments you have, the more damage it will have on your reputation and your credibility as a business.

Consider this: if you wouldn’t purchase from a low-ranking brand that disregards its customers, why would you assume potential customers would do so?

This leads me to the final point: losing customers.

You Lose Customers

If you fail to listen to feedback and develop a negative reputation, you will ultimately lose customers. Since reviews have become a pivotal part of a consumer’s purchasing journey, people will look online for comments related to your brand and make a decision based on what past customers have said. In other words, they will remove you as a possible candidate for doing business with and look elsewhere.

If you’ve been lucky enough to attract a few customers, they will most likely leave soon after realising that you don’t meet their needs or are not interested in their opinions. No individual wants to be ignored, especially when they have paid you and expect a certain experience. So, failing to listen to your existing customers will inevitably lead to a low retention rate.

Overall, not understanding your customers’ needs can put your business in jeopardy.

Solution: Get To Know Your Customers Better

Instead of waiting for a few customers to write comments online, you should actively seek out their thoughts by asking them to review their experience. Studies have shown that over 70% of customers will leave a review for a business when asked, demonstrating that it is easier than one would expect.

Also, since it’s more likely for people to write negative reviews of their own free will due to their heightened emotional response, asking for reviews will help balance your star rating. Most importantly, you will gain an insight into what you are doing well in and what needs immediate attention. By doing this, you can keep aspects that have been positively validated and change other areas to prevent future customers from experiencing the same outcome.

However, not all feedback has to be public. In addition to collecting reviews, you should also conduct polls to ensure customer satisfaction and get answers to any questions you may have. For instance, are you thinking of launching a new product but unsure if your customers would buy it? Or maybe you would like to know what they think of your customer service or new packaging. You can get the responses you need to make informed business decisions and avoid a testing phase. This way, you’ll prevent negative customer experiences and exceed future expectations, leading to increased loyalty and advocacy.

Meet and Exceed Your Customer Needs

No matter whether you have a newly launched start-up or an established business, one of your ongoing goals should be to understand the ever-changing needs of your customers. We have seen that by ignoring this task, a business will fail to grow properly, and its reputation and credibility will significantly decline, leading to a decrease in customer acquisition and retention. To prevent this from happening, it is vital to get to know your customers better by listening to their opinions and feedback. Both public comments in the form of reviews and private answers to specific questions through polls and questionnaires can help any business understand what it is excelling at and what might need immediate attention.

By listening and acting upon this feedback, you will be able to meet your customer’s expectations and even exceed them in the future, getting one step closer to becoming a successful business.

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