There’s one thing that GREAT leaders know about how to be great. They know that it’s simple. And they know that it’s something very few people do… which is why it’s so powerful.
I promised this would be a simple concept, and it is.
If you want to be great… you have to LISTEN.
See? Simple. But here’s the thing with simple: sometimes the simplest concepts are the hardest to master, which is why I’ve created this document for you. We’re going to talk about WHY listening is important to being great, and we’re going to dissect a little bit more about listening to your customer.
First, we’re going to define listening.
Merriam-Webster’s first definition of Listen is “to pay attention to sound.” But their SECOND definition is “to hear something with thoughtful attention; give consideration.” And it’s that second definition that we’re focusing on for these purposes.
Anybody can hear or read what their customers or clients are saying. But if you want to be great – if you want to be a leader in your industry, increase your sales and profits, and build a strong business… you have to really pay thoughtful attention and truly consider what your clients and customers are saying to you.
But I’m also going to throw a wrench into the works here. Because there’s more to communication than the words that are being said, and if you want to TRULY pay attention… you have to consider the non-verbal communication as well.
Let’s try something real quick. Consider the phrase “thank you.” I want you to say those words out loud to yourself as if you’ve just gotten a brand-new car for your birthday. Now say them as if someone has offered you their condolences. Now try them sarcastically. What would they sound like if you said them to someone that you despise? How about if you’re frustrated?
Listen to the differences in tone and emotion. Two words, said in five different circumstances, with five different results. THAT’S the power of non-verbal communication.
So now that we’ve talked about WHAT listening is…let’s discuss why it’s important.
I’ll start with an example: in my geographic area, we have a certain cable and internet provider. They have a wide variety of channels available, decent internet speed, and lower prices than their other big-name competition. But a glance at their Facebook page shows post after post after post of BAD experiences. And the financial reports show that they consistently lose customers… to the point where the word “hemorrhage” is appropriate.
If this company actually paid attention to their customers, they would fix the equipment and customer service issues and be virtually unstoppable. They would re-train their existing customer service force (or replace them, if need be) and focus on fixing the issues that cause their customers to leave.
But like many companies, this cable and internet provider seems to be operating in a vacuum. They’re so busy replying to customer complaints and getting through the day that they’re not actually paying attention to what their customers are SAYING.
The same thing happens to my clients every single day. Listening to every person that interacts with you or your company is so basic and common sense that we simply forget to do it. And when you neglect to listen to the feedback from your customers and clients… you lose the opportunity to turn your product from good to GREAT.
There’s a fraction of a difference between a good product or service and a great one – and a GREAT product or service is where your raving fans are. That’s where you will find the people who consume everything you have to offer and who will help you keep increasing your profits.
Even more than improving your offering, listening can help you improve your MARKETING. Consider this quote from Duff Anders, the VP of Research at iPerceptions: “’Voice of the Customer’ gets you closer to the actual customer… rather than less specific feedback that comes from general market research.”
Basically, Duff is saying that when you listen to your customers, you get a better idea of what they want from you and your company… which gives you insight about what’s important to your current customers. And that allows you to target your messaging to NEW customers using that feedback about what’s important to your current customers
So let’s sum up what we’ve talked about in this short report:
Listening is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do for your business. It’s what GREAT Leaders do that most people neglect.
You have to listen to what’s being said as well as what’s NOT being said. This means paying attention to words and body language, as well as the tone of voice.
Actively listening to your customers will allow you to operate OUTSIDE the vacuum that most businesses work in, and to tailor your products and marketing to serve your customers even better.
In the coming days, you’ll receive a few more e-mails from me with the action steps you can take to implement a listening program in your company. I’ll walk you step-by-step through the tools you can use to listen to your customers, how to get your customers to give you feedback, and what you can do with that information.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:
Here is an example from PBS.org who used a customer experience measurement to learn that many of their site’s visitors were looking for the recipes from their cooking shows – something that they didn’t have online yet. Because PBS.org learned that their visitors were searching exhaustively for these recipes, they created a new food site. The result? Significantly improved visitor satisfaction. PBS Food now receives more than one million page views every month, a sure sign that listening to their customers is paying off for them.
Spend the few days or so thinking about the things you would like to learn about your customers. What will help you sell more of your product to your current customers or find new customers? What will help you better your customer service? What will help you connect and develop deeper relationships with your clients? What can you learn that will help you change the customer experience so that you can make a change like PBS.org did?
If you know that you need to implement some changes in your business and could use a little help and direction, I’m here to help.
Next email we’re going to talk about the tools you can use to listen. Be sure to add [email protected] to your address book so that you don’t miss my e-mail when it comes in!
Your Host at “Leaders in the Trenches”
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