“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
— Robert McCloskey
When there is sound, we hear. When there is a conscious effort to understand what we hear, then and only then do we listen.
According to Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood), when we talk to someone we have the tendency to listen with the “intent to reply and not understand”. We focus too much in getting our point across that we consciously and/or unconsciously selectively hear what we want to hear. Thus, we miss to understand the entire meaning of the conversation. This is a clear breakdown in communication.
Covey also said that we are susceptible to respond “autobiographically” – we respond based on our paradigm, life experiences, and learning. Our brain seems to be hardwired to automatically relate what we hear in the conversation with what we believe, had experienced, and know. While the person is talking, we shift our attention to ourselves and start listening to our autobiography. Even before the person is done talking, we have prematurely concluded what he/she meant. This is another clear breakdown in communication. However, autobiographical responses are appropriate in some situations when we are asked to give our thoughts or opinion and you really have to respond based on your paradigm, life experiences, and learning.
Now, what do these important aspects of communication have to do with Customer Service and how do they impact Customer Satisfaction?
Companies should always listen to their customers regardless of the content. The intent of customers who give feedback is always positive and would benefit both company and customers. Satisfied customers want to always get excellent customer experience. Dissatisfied customers want the bad experience to immediately stop. Always remember that every customer who gives feedback makes an effort and sacrifices valuable time and it’s just right to do the same and listen.
When you gather information from your customers, this is when you “hear your customers”. When you study and analyze what you have “heard”, this is when you “listen to your customers”.
ExitShopping® listens. We listen to your customers to understand. The information gathered from your customers will be analyzed objectively and without bias. Customer perspective and mindset can become so dynamic that these are equally studied and analyzed. Our techniques and methods integrate all necessary factors that impact customers to strategically increase the potential of your business.
Here are a few other great quotes to inspire you:
“You have to be willing sometimes to listen to some remarkable bad opinions. Because if you say to someone, ‘That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard; get on out of here!’—then you’ll never get anything out of that person again, and you might as well have a puppet on a string or a robot.”
— John Bryan
“An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the duet dance of love is begun again.”
— M. Scott Peck, MD
“We listened to what our customers wanted and acted on what they said. Good things happen when you pay attention.”
— John F Smith
Former CEO and President General Motors