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Customer Listening and Responsive Marketing

A finger on the pulse

So you have a brilliant product. You want to price it a certain way. Your customers like your product, but don’t like your pricing ideas. They stop buying your product, and you’re looking into space with a sad, puppy dog face. Not good, not good. Here’s all that you should know when you’re dealing with a situation like this!

The first thing you should know about your end user is that he has an attention span that is much longer than that of the average cocker-spaniel. Which means, therefore, your customer is a receptive body to information, and is always discerning of ways to help him access the best of products without making a black hole out of his pocket.

As an organisation with something to sell, how do you capitalise on that attentiveness and pivot it to your advantage? Simple. Customer Listening and Responsive Marketing is all you need. The name says it all: it just involves keeping an eye out for what’s happening out there, and gauging your customer’s needs. The moment your customer frowns, you’ll know what to do.

Puzzled? Stick with me. I’m going to tell you a story. Heard of these guys called Uber? They go by the tagline “Everyone’s private taxi”. They got up to some interesting stuff, running this really lucrative business of having taxis to ferry people from their doorstep to the airport.

This was a very comfortable scheme of things for those that used the service: imagine, great service, Fancy Cars and a ride to the airport, all at normal rates! (I might have said that that’s the Indian dream, but that’s changed after these elections, and we’ll talk about that later over some chai and pakoras. See what I did there?). Chennai adopted this awesome scheme of things, and for a while, there were many happy people in the city.

Uber got famous, had more clients hopping on and off their vehicles while staying put on their bandwagon in the hope of getting the best out of fancy cars at reasonable rates. Then came the deal breaker: Uber’s success made it feel that a change was in order, one that resulted in the fixing of an arbitrary rate. The average ride to the airport now became Rs. 1200. Not a cool rate, no matter how fancy a car! Consequently, people were not happy about it at all. A bunch of angry users does to a business what a bunch of ants do to a tiny square of sugar: they destroy it.

Uber then decided to undo its mistake, and swooped in to fix it.

Let’s take a moment and reflect on this. What Uber did is not just a band-aid solution, but a clear cut example of customer listening and responsive marketing. All that Uber did was to look at the impact its decisions had on its customers, to listen to what its customers had to say and watch what they had to do in response to its policies, and then, to pivot those policies accordingly to ensure maximum usership.

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Customer Listening and Responsive Marketing


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