You’re Talking… But Are Your Customers Listening?

I have always been a fan of trashy reality TV. It’s often over-the-top, poorly scripted, and completely mindless. Or so I thought.

A few weeks ago, when flipping through the channels, I paused to check out a promo for the upcoming season of The Voice, which premiered last month on NBC. It was something that Howard Stern, the judge with his insane looking hair and eclectic personality said that made me actually think, despite everything I just said about those TV shows.

In talking to the show’s contestants, Stern advised they try to make a long-lasting connection with the audience, instead of a burning boom-and-bust style. Relating back to his experience hosting the wildly popular radio show that ran from 1986 to 2005, he said that he never focused on how many listeners he had, but how long he could get each one to listen. Stern built his fame and fortune on a three-hour block radio talk show. He said his goal was to get one person at a time to want to listen to all three hours at a time, and it worked. In 2005, he signed a contract with Sirius Radio worth $500 million.

Why can’t this advice apply to your small business? We often look for ways to gain more customers, but how much time do you spend focusing on retaining customers you already have?

In other words, how can we keep our customers listening?

Striving for brand loyalty is nothing new, but a hot button idea that has been gaining popularity and leads the way to brand loyalty is innovation. Innovation is defined as “the act or process of inventing or introducing something new.”

Obviously this is easier said than done… we’ve seen large companies like Kodak, Pan Am, IBM, Borders, MySpace and GM go from market leaders to obsolete players in a relatively short period of time because they did not keep on the forefront of innovation and deliver the added value that other companies were delivering. Customers stopped listening because they lost interest.

Innovation can be achieved in many ways… some companies send employees to innovation summits to generate ideas for a new product. Some companies use contests to encourage individuals to think outside the box. And sometimes companies just need a fresh perspective from an outsider on a existing marketing plan, for example.

Speaking of listening, we want to hear from you! How does you company keep conversation about innovation open? Does Howard Stern’s advice apply to your experiences?

My name is Kelly, and I’m happy to be part of the team at Professional Systems USA, Inc.,  a small business in North Carolina that provides efficient, cost effective, and time saving business solutions to streamline and enhance your company’s day-to-day operations, marketing and communications. I am new to and am always looking for opportunities to partner with a variety of blogs, specifically business, creativity, community, and education topics.