Listen to Improve

One-way communications are in the past. The digital world has given power to the audience and has made it part of something bigger; it is a place where everyone can express themselves, think out loud and give opinions. If you want to build a relationship with this audience, your role is to listen, meet and adjust in order to connect personally and deeply with it.

An iPerceptions study from 2011 showed that 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a site that has reviews. That same year, Revoo studies showed that e-commerce sales increased 18% in pages with reviews. Having this important data, we can surely notice that clients base their purchasing decisions on the comments others make. Of course, the product matters, but it’s also important the user experience.

The value that a shopper gives to a brand is essential, not only because you can evaluate if the strategy is working or not, but also because you can work on your weaknesses and focus on your message strengths. Bad/good/regular experiences are important to a brand and to a user, so you have to try to do 2 things at the same time: Deliver a clear and valuable message, and listen to what consumers are really saying/demanding.

In 2013, Zendesk performed a survey and showed the behavior of users:

58% were open to sharing their experiences as customers.

45% would post a negative opinion on social media vs. 30% that would share good experiences.

90% were influenced by the reviews.

Users trust the opinion of other users, there’s no question about it.

There are several cases of businesses that use consumers’ experiences in their favor. Zara has always been listening to fashion trends in order to maintain customers happy. The strategy was: not to hire great designers, but to get inspired by them, use their buyers’ network to understand the market needs and respond to them in an effective manner. Another tactic Zara uses is that each time a new design is created, they don’t mass produce it, they make a small number of pieces and then send it to the stores. If they’re not successful, they don’t produce more. It’s their way to measure the success of their own designs. By the way, the method works successfully in at least 88 markets and more than 2,100 stores around the world. Listening to the audience does work after all!

IBM also applied this philosophy of an open conversation in 2002 with a process called Values Jam, which opened up a discussion between the company and its workforce through the Internet about the values that the brand represented. Approximately 50 thousand employees sent their opinions, a process that lasted three days. Almost 10 thousand comments were collected and, as you can imagine, not all of them were positive, then a program identified the main data and they proceed to evaluate it. The results were so positive that they repeated this practice on different opportunities, focusing on different areas.

The main thing is to be prepared to receive and respond to the reactions, comments and perceptions that users have about your brand. It’s okay if they have something bad to say. Think about it as an opportunity to shine and make your company better. There’s always room to be perfect!

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