Is Your Company Listening?

The problem is never the problem. The response to the problem is almost always the real problem. (Perception is all there is.) ~ Tom Peters

Some business owners react badly to social media. One of my clients was railing against on-line criticism, now that he was on Facebook. He took it seriously, superior service being a big part of his strategy, and something he personally believed in. It’s how he was and how he built his business.

He couldn’t make somebody take it back, he couldn’t fix it. For the action-oriented entrepreneur guy that he was frustrated.

Then he went for lunch with another very smart woman, who told him: “Garry, people have always been saying that kind of thing about your business. The only difference now is that you’re hearing it.”

When he related this too me he was calm. The realization was, he told me, that the internet wasn’t just about getting his message out. It was also about hearing what his customers had to say and using that to make his business better. Even when what his customers had to say was something he didn’t really want to hear.

Especially when what his customers had to say was something he didn’t want to hear.

My recommendation? If you want to have an effective on-line presence, it’s less about pushing your message and more about listening to your customers. As Covey said: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Here is an example of good “seeking” that I wrote about earlier this year, when I wrote about my encounter with an on-line bookstore. They listened hard and used it as an opportunity to turn my customer experience around.

What is your company doing to listen to your customers? What you’ve heard and what you feel doesn’t count. What does the research and the facts tell you? What are your customer actually saying?

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