Are You Listening, Really?

Hello - is anyone out there?!

Effective listening is a true talent, yet it unfortunately seems to be becoming a lost art. And in the digital universe, it is even becoming more rare. Case in point: have you ever submitted a question or concern using a website’s Contact Us page? Did anyone ever respond? If so, how long did it take for them to respond? Or, have you ever had a questionable (at best) or perplexing (at worst) experience when trying to browse a website, or trying to place an online order? Personally, it astonishes me when I am actually trying to give a business my money, yet there are so many frustrating obstacles in my path, that I just give up and move on. In many cases, potential customers like myself are actually willing to provide feedback. For me, being in the technology business, I want to see online businesses succeed, and I believe that many people also feel this way and would like to help.

So why aren’t businesses willing to make it easier to provide feedback, and listen to that feedback? Good question, right? The truth is that there are a few likely answers to that question that I’d like to explore.

One possible reason is that the concept simply hasn’t occurred to them. So many business managers and owners are crazy busy these days and they haven’t thought about ways to encourage more customer feedback. This is understandable, and this is one of the goals for this article – to explain its importance and how easy this can be – yes, really!

Another possible reason is that business owners might be afraid to receive honest constructive criticism. Well, my advice is to stand up and face the music. Someone much wiser than me once said, “If you don’t know what’s broke, you can’t fix it”. Sure, initially you may receive some feedback that isn’t all too positive, but when you begin addressing some of your customers’ concerns, then you’re on the right path, and before you know it the majority of the feedback will be positive.

Some website owners may believe that it’s too expensive to set-up an online survey. Nope! There are now several companies out there that have made the process quite simple and inexpensive.

The bottom line is that if you want to separate yourself, your website, your business from the competition, you need to make it easy for your customers to provide feedback - and most importantly – you need to “listen” to the feedback and make any needed adjustments. A core aspect of most successful businesses is the recognition that change is inevitable and necessary, and that your customers won’t remain loyal unless you listen to them.

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