I want to talk about listening, and especially listening to your customers right now. Recently, I’ve received some questions including: Do you stop your surveys? How do you listen?
So I want to share my thoughts on six key ways in which we should continue to listen to and communicate with our customers—and our teams.
1. Shift from Validating to Understanding
Surveys sometimes can act as a validation of points we’ve predetermined to be important that we want customer’s rating of our performance on. Now, those predetermined items are likely not completely relevant. The world has shifted and so have your customers’ priorities and goals. The companies that will rise out of this the quickest, both financially and in earning customers’ memories that your company cares, will find ways to learn and understand your customers’ pain points, their priorities and where you can add value. You want to earn the right to being a part of their memory of people who helped them during this time.
2. Listen with Humanity
Ask customers if groups of them (non competing if that is an issue) will come together virtually in groups to talk about what they need and their priorities and goals. We are finding these sessions to be very powerful and human. They will also help you to identify areas that you can contribute to, both specific to your product and service offering and in new ways outside of your existing offering. Beyond these groups, you may want to also consider segmenting your customers by value segments, vertical and size.
3. Smash the Rules on Who Listens
Give people across your organization a seat at this new listening table. Bring in the front line, the middle and your senior folks so that you collectively hear the voice, the emotion and the needs.
4. Require Leaders to Listen and Be on Video
We are breaking barriers with leaders in their living rooms talking with their teams. Do that with your customers too. This is the time to REQURE every senior leader and through the middle of your organization to have both individual conversations with customers, and participate in group conversations. This will change forever more their understanding of your customers, and will build bonds as people see them not only for their role in your business, but for who they are as people.
5. Focus on Goals
This diligent listening will unearth the near-term goals that your customers have. Recalibrate and focus on the few that you can have the greatest impact in supporting them in their achievement of them. Resist the urge to let every silo build their own list. Find a few things and bring everyone together to focus on these for substantive solutions that customers will say really helped them.
6. Market Hope
Remember to tell customers what you heard. Change the language of leaders to all be able to articulate these goals now. then market hope back to both your customers and employees as you progress.
This approach to listening shifts culture in the best of times. Now, not only will it put you in a position to be remembered as a company that truly assisted during this moment, but it can be a springboard for putting this good behavior into how you operate going forward. This works!