Listen with your eyes. Yes, you heard me correctly….listen with your eyes. The inspiration for this post came from a story in Mitch Albom’s excellent book “have a little faith”.
In it he retells a story from a sermon by his childhood rabbi. The story…
“A little girl came home from school with a drawing she’d made in class. She danced into the kitchen, where her mother was preparing dinner.
“ ‘Mom, guess what?’ she squealed, waving and drawing.
“Her mother never looked up.
“ ‘What?’ she said, tending to the pots.
“ ‘Guess what?’ the child repeated, waving the drawing.
“ ‘What?’ the mother said, tending to the plates.
“ ‘Mom, you’re not listening.’
“ ‘Sweetie, yes I am.’
“ ‘Mom,’ the child said, ‘you’re not listening with your eyes.’ “
How often do we, as marketers, say we’re listening to our customers, but we’re not really “listening with our eyes”? We say “you are very important customers, please give us your feedback” or “help us help serve you better”.
Then, when our customers actually take the time to tell us how we feel, what do we do about it? Too often, nothing. We like to tell people we care about them, but do we show it?
It takes a lot of effort for people to talk about their experiences with you and they’ll only do it if they believe they’re actually going to be genuinely heard.
If their experience is positive, they’ll tell others about it. That’s good.
If their experience is negative, they’ll tell others about it. That’s bad. HOWEVER, if you let them know that you’re listening and trying to fix any problems, they’re more apt to tell others that they trust you.
People don’t expect perfect companies. They want to trust companies and they find very few that they do trust nowadays.
Instead of talking about how much we care about our customers, we should really start “listening with our eyes”. Then, hopefully they will tell others how much we care.
One quick way to listen using Twitter – FOLLOW people and find out what they are saying about you. If you’re going to the trouble to create a Twitter account for your company, and people are taking the trouble to follow you…you need to reciprocate. Follow them back. Otherwise you can’t listen to what they’re saying.
There are plenty of more ways to effectively listen, but this one is quick and easy.