10 Ways To Test If We Are Truly Listening To Our Customers?


Share on LinkedIn

In today’s social media world, we have finally realized that we need to understand our customers and part of that process involves holding conversations with the customer. Holding a conversation implies two things: talking and listening. Since we are trying to gain information about the customer’s status and needs, it would appear that we should be listening more than talking. So how do we listen effectively to a customer?
Here are some keys tips to improve your listening ability:

1. Pay attention – If you really want to be a good listener, you pay attention to the person speaking. Use non-verbal cues like a smile, eye contact or a nod of the head to let the speaker know that he/she is being heard.
2. Listen for the message – This means you have to listen for facts as well as ideas , intentions and feelings. This might entail your paying attention to both the verbal and non-verbal messages along with hearing the unpleasant things that might be a part of the message.
3. Listen and hear before you evaluate – Try not to reach a premature conclusion. If you are unsure of the exact meaning question the speaker in a non-threatening way to get at the real answer and try not to give advice or counsel.
4. Playback in your own words – Try to impartially paraphrases the words of the speaker and asks if that was the intended meaning. You’ll avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
5. Refrain from giving advice – You are trying to listen and learn about the customer. Don’t jump in to give unsolicited advice.
6. Don’t rebut – Try not to listen so you can formulate a rebuttal. Again, you are listening to try to find the customer’s pain points and understand the language he/she uses.
7. Listen and don’t interrupt – This may test your patience, but you need to give the customer time to formulate and express the idea on his/her mind.
8. Listen and feel – Try to understand the underlying emotions and feelings, This might mean that you also have to’ listen’ to the body language.
9. Do not try to get your message across – Remember you are listening. When you figure out what makes the customer tick and more importantly what language to use, you can craft a message that will resonate with the customer.
10. Do not just pretend to listen – If you do, you’ll surely come away from the experience without gaining any information and you will be as ignorant of your real customer as you were before the conversation started.
Remember that we now live in a customer centric world. The only way the business will have a marketing message that resonates with the customer is if that message is geared towards solving the customer pain and is in a language the customer understands. That only happens if we learn to listen to our customers and they begin to feel that they are being heard.

Photograph attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niclindh/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


  1. So many businesses are focused so heavily on what they are saying to their customers that they are not truly listening enough to understand customers’ concerns, wants, or opinions. Listening to what our customers have to say can give us much needed insight to understand what’s coming next. Whether they’re leaving us for a competitor, or possibly buying more from us…the first step toward taking charge of the dynamics with our customers is really that simple — just listen. More specifically, if you listen to capture their intent, analyze it to gain insight and lastly, use that insight to make an impact…you are on track to a healthy, sustainable business. http://www.nice.com/customer_dynamics/


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here