Becoming a Better Listener
A good listener not only hears what is being said, but listens, responds and acts accordingly. People who are considered good listeners are sought out by colleagues and friends. Likewise, companies that are considered good listeners are rewarded by a higher level of customer loyalty.
According to Forrester Research, despite the widespread use of customer feedback programs, fewer than a third of firms contacted closely monitor the quality of their interactions with target customers or systematically incorporate customer needs into decision-making processes. In other words, companies are hearing what their customers are saying, but they are not really listening. What’s worse, they are not acting on the insights collected.
Listening to the voices of the customers should not be only the job of customer service or marketing; it needs to be the responsibility of everyone at all levels of the organization. In fact, managers across all departments must use the information to prioritize actions that need to be taken. According to Melissa Wozniak, market research and product development manager for Texans Credit Union, “Employee attitudes, prices, products and services all combine to provide a single satisfactory experience.”
More importantly, customers don’t want their feedback acted on months from now; they want to see changes made swiftly. Tools such as conversation mining and social media monitoring allow for real-time customer insight, but not real-time response. After all, combing through qualitative information, distilling out real issues and prioritizing actions take time. However, the companies that make these activities a priority will be the ones who win in the end.