“Seek first to understand then to be understood.”
Stephen R. Covey
Listen to UNDERSTAND
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, http://www.leshop.ch …) 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 !