Listening to what matters to your customers is more important than ever before. The trick is to “First seek to understand, then to be understood” as Stephen Covey highlighted in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The most important lesson I ever learned is to become an effective problem solver, for whomever is paying me to solve a problem. Here is a problem I encountered recently and how it was solved with listening.
After getting my car repaired at a local automotive shop, I was frustrated because the problem wasn’t fixed.
Back at the auto shop in question, I demanded a full refund. The representative listened carefully to the issues, asked clarifying questions to understand what the problem was and reviewed his options.
Then, he assured me we could work things out and that his shop would fix the problem. He said the car probably needed a new brake booster and his shop would take care of it, without additional cost.
And that’s exactly what happened. The representatives at the shop replaced my old brake booster. The next day I called the shop and reported that the problem was resolved. The person on the other end appreciated my telephone call and thanked me for my business. After hanging up, I knew my car had found a good repair shop.
By really listening to your customers, you will learn information that can help you become their go-to problem solver. When you demonstrate that you care enough to listen to customers’ concerns and are actively engaged in finding effective solutions that produce win-win results, BINGO!
When tasked with solving a problem, I immediately generate a list of questions, which is second nature because of my journalism background. It’s a good idea to ask open-ended questions such as:
Remain mentally-ambitious when generating a list of questions. You are basically “Interviewing” the client and guess what? The customer has a lot to say so be prepared to listen.
Take Good Notes
A customer’s initial requirements are the foundation for a long-term business relationship. Use your tablet, cellphone or a notepad to document these important details and immediately upload this profitable data into your digital storage system for future review. Having this highly valuable information at your fingertips will reap rich rewards.
Here are some other ways to listen:
Of course, after you listen and understand, it’s time to do whatever is necessary to respond to your customers’ issues. Why not document the process in a new template thereby saving valuable time and money? And, by all means, do share the lessons learned with the team!
By the way, I have a 1994 940 Volvo with 365,500+ miles. And she’s still going strong. I tell her I love her all the time.
Have you been listening to your customers? Share an experience where you listened and responded to your customer.