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  • Writer's pictureMark Slatin

The 5 Keys to Effective Customer Listening

How well do you listen??


“Most people don't listen to understand, they listen with the intent to reply."

- Stephen Covey


Imagine you are shopping for your first home.

You brim with anticipation to start looking at properties that mark a new chapter in your life.

You anxiously await the tour of fresh listings to see how they look in real life.

Enter Ron the real estate agent.

Ron pulls up in his BMW and you jump in.

He chooses to fill the drive time to the first property by enumerating his accomplishments en route to being crowned the "Agent of the Month" in his office.

Your excitement turns to anxiety after you open the door at the first property. Your eyes swell because of the small animal shelter of dogs the Zillow images hid.

After an abrupt about-face, Ron asks, “how did you like it?”

Responding back, now with both eyes shut, “Not great. I’m allergic to dogs.”

Ron responded, “Yeah but what a backyard, right!?”

Complete disconnect!

Ron did all the talking and not much listening.

The problem for most companies is that they don’t have a way to listen, understand, and leverage the data from that listening to make changes that enrich their customer’s lives.

There are many ways to listen to customers, including electronic surveys, focus groups, customer roundtables, in-depth interviews, and unstructured voice analytics.

Even if your organization has some or all of these listening posts set up, you may still fall short of creating customer loyalty.


Here are 5 Keys to Customer Listening:

1. LISTEN TO THE MOMENTS THAT MATTER - What points of your customer’s journey matters more than others? Track and measure those.

2. IDENTIFY LOYALTY DRIVERS - what do the insights tell you about what matters most to your customers? What drives your most valued customers to buy again and bring their friends? (see my post on loyalty levers

3. BENCHMARK CX METRICS - the story means little without context. It’s critical to establish benchmarks and track them over time, calling out the ones that matter to customers and that are actionable.

4. CREATE A CLOSED FEEDBACK LOOP - Have a system in place to respond immediately to detractors or upset customers. Don’t make them work to get help.

5. FEED THE WHEEL - The insights and recommendations should integrate into a “wheel” or CX engine that includes the other four spokes that work together to drive customer loyalty.

For help applying the CX framework to your organization, I’d love to talk. Just click on the ‘Let’s Chat’ button.

Don't miss an episode of the Delighted Customers Podcast. Practical tips and advice from CX thought leaders and experts.

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