When we are young we are generally taught, by our parents, that we have one mouth but two ears and to use them in that quantity. When we start in business listening to your customers and employees is rarely thought about. So how do you listen to your customers and employees?
Here’s how to Listen …
What’s important in the progression through the stages of customer centricity from being a customer-targeted company to customer-centric organisation is developing a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and wants. Listening is the first essential step in Customer-Centric Evolution.
Effective listening is a line of demarcation between Stage 1 (Targeted) and more advanced stages of customer-centricity. From your customer’s perception, you will have had to at least reached stage 2 (Responsive) before they even start to perceive youas customer-centric.
Getting feedback continues to evolve and it’s been an incredible journey in the past 6 years to reach a point where you could actually be powering your business using mobile technology and collecting live customer feedback at point of experience within the next 10 minutes regardless of where you are and where your customers are physically located. The real key, of course, is acting on that feedback. Let’s say a guest has a bad experience at a hotel, and then posts a scathing review on TripAdvisor – nothing the manager can do. A good feedback system should be able to harvest and analyse the feedback, associate it with a specific hotel, and have the manager deal with it in the window of opportunity they have to positively affect the client’s experience.
And that’s the tricky bit… we all have limited windows of opportunity to take action
So, ok imagine your ‘window of opportunity’ with your clients. Think of it as a season. Imagine you’re running a theme park and you’ve only got April to October to make your money. When do you want feedback? …. At the end of the season? In a few months time, you’d probably be happy if it was a few weeks time right now … So imagine the difference if that window of opportunity to affect your customers experience was now reduced to just a few seconds – information fed back honestly and objectively. Whatever kind of business you are running in such a way that within one minute wherever you are in the world you can respond and positively affect your customer. That instantly moves you to Stage 2 in the customer-centricity evolution.
The passing of time from the point of customer’s experience negatively affects the integrity and value or usefulness of the information you get. The more time that passes, the lower the usefulness of the feedback is to you, and the less integrity the feedback has because external factors have already begun to affect its objectivity. So the net result is outside the limited windows of opportunity you have, your customers become disillusioned and they may go elsewhere.