How do you listen to your customers?

Ask any executive or business owner if it’s important to them to listen to their customers and you will get an enthusiastic "of course!"  Then, ask them what programs or tools they have in place to listen.  Suddenly, for most companies, the silence is deafening.

You might hear suggestion box or a customer service toll free number or even an e-mail address.  On a rare occasion, you might hear customer satisfaction survey or personalized follow up phone calls.

Picture_2 But, I suspect it will be a rare company that says "RV."

Yes, RV. 

The folks at Freshbooks (a web-based time tracking and invoicing tool) decided to hit the road.  For two weeks, they lived and traveled on an RV as they toured 11 cities in the southern U.S.   Along the way, they stopped to host BBQs, met customers, and hung hangover kits on the hotel doorknobs during SXSW.

This is a company that gets customer engagement.  They didn’t sit back and passively wait for a customer to shoot them an e-mail or take an online survey.  They got up and went to their customers.  Literally.  They didn’t do a hard sell, they let their brand’s personality dictate how they interacted.

No wonder 99% of their customers said they’d recommend them to a peer.

This worked because:

  • It was fresh and different
  • The company was making the effort — not asking the customers to do the work
  • It had talk value — people told this story over and over
  • It was true to Freshbook’s brand personality

The RV/road tour isn’t the right answer for everyone.  But aggressively listening is.  So…what’s your best, most talkable listening tactic?  If you don’t have one…get any ideas from the Freshbooks gang?

Related posts:
Listen up!
Are you really listening?
Marketing lesson from Walt:  Listen and Respond