Listening to Customers
The most important thing we can give another person is our attention
The ear is the first fully developed organ in the womb. At just eighteen weeks, a baby can
identify the sound of his mother's voice. The same letters contained in the word 'listen' are also
in the word 'silent'. H
t contains the word 'ear'. So while one might think that humans should
be pre-disposed to being good listeners, the vast majority of us are poor listeners. Active
listening without judgement, without focusing on preparing our own response to what is being
said, is hard work and requires practice and patience. Listening is one of our most valuable
communication tools, but yet, we rarely emphasize its importance in our teaching and training.
We all appreciate those people in our life who really listen to us. Unfortunately, these people are
few in numbers as we live our lives at an accelerated pace that promotes multi-tasking and
limited attention to one activity. Great students are great listeners, great mentors are great
listeners, great friends are great listeners, and actually the most successful organizations are also
very committed to listening to their customers.
So what makes a good listening organization? Many companies have an approach to listening
that consists of feedback cards, surveys, and requests for reviews which is more about lip service
rather than making
a priority. If your organizational approach to listening is having a
complaint dept. for customers to voice their concerns then you are not committed to listening.
So why should a company listen carefully to its customers?
Engaging customers in meaningful attentive ways builds stronger connections and
allows the business to focus personally rather than generally.
Customers can see through the usual 'how was your experience' type of follow up and
will not respond to communication that is not genuine and designed to serve the self-
interests of the business.
The closer you can get inside the world of the customer and understand how your
product/service is relevant in their lives, the more successfully you can build on that
What people say they will do in a survey or questionnaire is rarely what they actually do
at the moment of purchase or critical decision.
Customers can provide far more valuable insights about your products than can ever be
found in research and studies.
Listening to customers also refers to your internal customers or service employees who
are on the front lines and most aware of what
customers like and don't like.
How you listen to customers speaks volumes about your commitment to Listening
The environment where you chose to listen to your customers is very important. Burton
ski boards go out to the slopes and engage with customers about their product
performance. This allows them to receive fresh relevant feedback in real time.
Listening involves understanding the role your products play in the lives of your
customers. Proctor and Gamble research agents spend time with customers in their