May 5, 2020

Listen to understand not just to respond

Does your organisation listen to understand or listen to respond?

In trying to be efficient, many businesses focus on responses. They deal with the issue and move on to the next one. The problem with this approach is that they don’t have time to learn. They don’t discover how to improve the experience that all their customers have.

At the recent Unleash2020 Conference, Manny Edina’s talked about listening. He said:
“Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond. Listening to fully understand your customer’s new realities, is the only way to break through and solve the problems they care about right now”
Common sense isn’t always common practice

While Manny’s quote sounds like common sense, it’s not yet common practice. Most businesses listen to respond, or worse, listen to measure.

So what’s the difference?

Listen to measure

When you listen to measure, the focus is on ratings. You ask customers to rate their satisfaction or NPS. The score is what matters, it may even link to KPIs. Why customer gave that score is less important. Decision-makers are happy to assume they know why the score changed. For example, think about the smiley face terminals in airport toilets. Or the time you gave up on a long multiple-choice survey full of irrelevant questions.

Listen to respond

Listen to respond is where staff react to specific issues. The process they are following resolves the specific issue for that specific customer. For example, most complaints processes are only designed to resolve one specific complaint. Similarly, customer service desks are designed to react to questions. In both cases, staff rarely have a way of identifying repeat issues. Nor can they offer their ideas for stopping them happening again.

Listen to understand

Listen to understand is where businesses are curious about why good and bad experiences happen. They want to discover the root causes. They then use this learning to improve the experiences they consistently deliver.

Customers notice the difference.

So how does your organisation listen? Do you listen to understand?

Time for a chat, or prefer to keep informed?

Is your firm ready to implement always-on client listening?
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