Pandora's Tim Westergren on Turning Doubters Into Customers

The founder of the personal radio giant talks to Inc. about the importance of addressing every single customer complaint.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren is a big proponent of being heard.

When customers have an issue with the terms of Pandora's service, their complaints do not fall on deaf ears.

During a conversation with Inc.'s Founders Forum, Westergren talked about how he turns doubters of his business into loyal fans.

"Often times when someone has a complaint, the answer they hear is not the answer that they want, but they are heard. We literally answer every single email with an individual reply, and that can be as many as 80,000 or 100,000 in a single month," he says. "You can’t dismiss somebody. You really do have to acknowledge their feedback and you have to respond to it."

This, according to Westergren, is the first step to building a relationship with your customers that will ultimately keep them engaged.

"Don’t wave your arms around what you’re asking of your listeners or the changes you’re making. Be very direct with them," he says.

"Give them very transparent reasons as to why, and say, 'This is the bargain. If you feel like we have too much advertising, we have a subscription option without advertising, but these advertisers are folks that are allowing you to have this for free.'"

For more tips on how to turn doubters into customers, watch the video below.


Pandora's Tim Westergren: The Man Who Remade How You Hear Music

The founder of the personal radio giant talks start-up strategy, innovation and disruption with Inc.'s Scott Gerber.

Last updated: Jul 25, 2014


Graham Winfrey is a staff writer for He previously covered alternative investments at Private Equity International magazine, prior to which he worked at Business Insider and He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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