Re:active Listening

ssttt... just listen - Skeet (Flickr)

“Seek first to understand then to be understood.”
Stephen R. Covey


As part of the active communication process, listening is a key-skill when it comes to building loyalty in the Tourism sector & service based operations.

I’ll always remember a comment of a hotel manager  I met in Switzerland five years ago: “You can learn a lot if you TAKE THE  TIME to listen to your customer.” In the hospitality business context, this comment made perfect sense then. Considering the actual economic situation & customer confidence loss, this comment seems – for many businesses – even more appropriate today.

Taking the time to LISTEN

While working on my “Fidélisation & Nouvelles Technologies” (= Loyalty & New Media) study, I had the opportunity to interview some renowned firms (Nespresso, Switcher, …) as well as more local, service-based companies such as restaurants, garages and gyms.

Asked what they did to keep their customers in the present times, managers of these smaller companies with loyal customers mentioned taking time to listen & giving service according to their needs.

Taking time to listen has a vital function: helping managers understand individual customer situations and choose the appropriate responses to dissipate misunderstandings and frustration.

Listening = Loyalty Building Opportunities ?

Based on the comments I got from managers during my 30 interviews, the answer is YES !

Good basic communication is very important to build customer loyalty and confidence. Taking time to listen, whatever it takes, shows how much you care about your clients. This is usually really appreciated.

Companies active in service/contact based businesses who wish to rebuild loyalty should seriously consider empowering their employees and developing their listening skills.

What is your opinion ? How would you improve employees listening skills ?  I’d be glad to have your feedbacks !

4 Comments on “Re:active Listening

  1. I will ask them if they’d mind repeating important (important memo to myself of hot button, or objection to overcome) statements. No one minds you being interested in what THEY have to say – and in fact are generally flattered you’d ask if you can archive them.

    At least once ask the “how do you feel” type questions about how doing business in this way makes a difference and get ready for “why” they might do some with you next….

    What type of services do they expect? Getting a clear understanding of level of support expected is tough. My credo “over-delivery is impossible if you haven’t under-promised” qualify needs before suggesting solutions.

  2. Super information,I have bookmarked this site to my list for future and will keep a eye on your other posts.

  3. From a customer support perspective (regardless of product/service), it’s a very hard internal sell convincing ‘traditionalists’ that making the customer happy is not about making them believe you’ll do anything they want. It’s all about making them believe that you understand their problem – & can therefore empathise & are more likely to be able to solve it.
    The customer is not always right, but the customer is almost always misunderstood.

  4. Pingback: Ecoute ré:active | Yann Graf - Multimedia Project Manager

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