How Business Leaders Listen to Their Customers

listen to customers
How to listen to your customers

Many companies tend to focus too much on the service or product they provide and forget about listening to their customers. Inevitably, this results in revenue and profit reduction. The main goal of any business is to make money. However, it is easier to reach it when we listen to our customers and understand their needs.

In fact, there is nothing more effective for the quality of our service than listening to what our customers say. Still, businesses often do not solicit their customers’ opinions and thus they lose that precious connection with them that creates smooth experience.

In this blog post I would like to share with you the experience of business leaders who deliver excellent customer service and listen to their customers.

Why listening to customers is important

Here are 5 quotations that will help you to understand the importance of listening:

Ernest Hemingway, was an American novelist, short story writer and journalist:

You won’t solve any problem without the deep knowledge of the subject. That is why listening is important. You cannot learn about your customers’ problems without taking your time to listen, care and empathize with your customer. These quotations will explain the importance of listening:
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

Jim BushExecutive Vice President of World Service, American Express:

There are many who subscribe to the convention that service is a business cost, but our data demonstrates that superior service is an investment that can help drive business growth. Investing in quality talent, and ensuring they have the skills, training and tools that enable them to empathize and actively listen to customers are central to providing consistently excellent service experiences.

Jim Rohn, was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker:

One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.

Damon Richards, business consultant:

Your customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Jeff Bezos, an American technology and retail entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist who is best known as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon.com:

Listen to the customer and invent for the customer.

How Booking.com listens to customers

At Booking.com putting the customer at the center of everything done by the company is one of the most valued principles. They actually realize that real people interact with their products and thus they want these people to love their experience with Booking.com.

The following methods are used by the Booking.com team on a daily basis to understand their customers better and to find out what they really think about their service:

  1. Online survey tools. In fact, this is the most popular and convenient way to collect feedback from customers.
  2. Street level user testing. Though it may sound unusual, Booking.com employees talk to people outside their office and ask questions about their service.
  3. Usability tests. During these tests customers follow their natural behavior while the session is being recorded and guided by a moderator.
  4. User research. It gives an opportunity to observe customers using the product for extended periods.
  5. Diary studies. It’s a form of a long-term research with the same participants. The participants write entries with their activities, their thoughts and frustrations they face along their journeys.

Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company

This is the mission Amazon.com was founded with. We are all definitely familiar with Amazon and enjoy its effortless buying experience. In fact, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is famous for putting the customer at the center of everything and focusing on customer needs. If you actually want your company to embrace the power of customer centricity, like Amazon.com, take a look at these 7 tips:

  1. Make customer service an integral part of your company culture
  2. Don’t just listen to your customers, understand them
  3. Be transparent and accessible
  4. Get everyone involved
  5. Take action and respond to customer feedback
  6. Serve the needs of your customer
  7. Don’t be afraid to apologize

Wow your customer – valuable lessons from Zappos

Zappos says that the number one tool any company can use is listening. They “respond to every single customer inquiry, whether it’s via phone, email, live chat, Twitter, Facebook, Zappos blog, etc.” In fact, many of Zappos improvements are inspired by their customer feedback.

Furthermore, the consistent Zappos experience comes from happy employees who are empowered to solve customer issues. They listen and quickly offer a solution, no matter how complicated the situation is. Here are five great customer experience lessons from Zappos:

  1. Happy employees mean happy customers. Zappos provides great experiences both internally and externally. Brand’s company culture ensures employees are happy and as a result they use those same values to take care of Zappos customers.
  2. It’s all about service. Great customer service is in fact an integral part of Zappos culture.
  3. Listening is the number one tool. What is important to customers becomes also important to Zappos. No doubt that there is no need to go above and beyond to wow your customers. Just listen and don’t follow a script. Each customer inquiry is unique, just remember that.
  4. The word of mouth drives customers to be your fans. Great customer service leads to positive feedback shared across various social media platforms. Therefore there is nothing more important than happy customers telling about their great experience with a brand.
  5. Know who your customers are. Never treat them like an amorphous mass of consuming activity. In the first place remember that each customer is a human being. There is a real person behind any credit card number, online purchase and positive or negative feedback.

All successful company leaders have a clear understanding of their customers. No matter how exceptional your product is, if it does not fit the needs of the modern buyer, your business will never succeed. If we listen to our customers, they will tell us everything we need to know to develop the right products and services. Understanding of customers is the foundation of an organization’s vision and strategy. The more we listen to our customers the better we understand their needs and this in turn helps us to build successful business. How do you listen to your customers? We’d like to hear your tips.

Olga

Olga

Head of Customer Service Advocates and Social Media Coordinator at Provide Support, LLC
Olga is a Head of Customer Service Advocates and Social Media Coordinator at Provide Support, LLC. She is a writer and blogger on customer service innovation, customer service excellence and customer support technology.
Olga

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