For as long as I can remember I was taught the importance of listening. You were given one mouth and two ears for a reason, I was told. Seek first to understand (by listening), then to be understood (by speaking).
As an adult, I’ve come to understand that for many people listening was either not something they were taught growing up or they’ve simply decided that listening was not for them; in either case that’s a topic for another day.
Know thy customer?
Customers or clients are the recipients of a good, service, product, or idea. Although we normally think of the customer as he who exchanges these for some form of valuable consideration, that’s not always the case. Sometimes our customers are not paying for the products and services they receive.
As an example, a coworker can sometimes be viewed as a customer through an interaction with you.
What’s most important, is knowing our customer before we begin the conversation (You may find this article from the Harvard Business Review helpful).
What’d they say?
Now that we know the customer, the rest is easy, right?
Simply shut up and listen, right? …Wrong.
You may find one of two things:
- Silence. No feedback. No one asked any questions or requested feedback.
- The wrong words are just noise if they are not helpful or not getting to the right people who can take meaningful action.
An important part of practicing effective listening is asking open-ended questions. When organizations ask the right questions of the proper people at the correct time they get powerful responses. The silent message you can convey is one of care and concern.
In addition, with an appropriate strategy, organizations can ensure that customer feedback is monitored and compiled so that actionable improvements can be made.
They told who?
Negative feedback travels fast! Today that’s true more than ever before.
In the past, negative customer feedback spread to family, friends, and neighbors. It was damaging, but nowhere near as damaging as it can be today.
Today, a customer can use social media or alternate business review platforms to rant and create bad publicity that can damage brands and steer existing or potential customers in another direction.
Although some people feel the immediate gratification from “getting it off their chest,” rarely does the information get to the correct person who can act.
Please tell us. We’re listening.
Feedback platforms like the AUR2 Guest Experience provide a simple and effective solution to reduce bad reviews and retain customers while building positive guest experiences and brand loyalty.
Here’s how it works:
- Strategically placed signs tell customers “We’re listening and would appreciate your feedback”
- Customers communicate via text messages
- Issues are automatically logged and tracked
- The proper staff are alerted
- Timely corrections are made
- The customer receives an automated “Thank You”
Now hear your customers loud and clear!
Although no one likes to experience problems, most people understand that things aren’t always perfect. The fact that an issue arises doesn’t make for a bad experience. Instead, how the issue is addressed is often more memorable.
- 67% of customer churn could be avoided if a business resolves a customer’s issue during their first interaction. -Esteban Kolsky, Think Jar
Who are your customers and what do they say that you can’t hear today?