How serious are you about providing excellent customer service or are you just paying lip service?

Post stay questionnaires , online reviews or employee engagement surveys all provide a wealth of invaluable feedback and information that can add significant value to the business, but are you genuinely listening to the feedback from your customer and teams and then taking some form of action as a result?

I raise the question as following 2 recently poor experiences it made me realise that many companies seem to just go through the motions of box ticking to be seen as being customer focussed but in reality they have just been paying lip service to the most important aspect of their business.

Following proactive telephone calls to ask for my assessment on the levels of the service I experienced, neither got back to me when I raised some issues that required further investigation despite a commitment to revert back to me with the outcome.

I was initially pleased that the companies were interested in my views but I was then left with a poor impression due to by their lack of interest, commitment or follow up.

Why proactively ask for feedback from customers or your teams and then take no action as a result?

These recent experiences did however reinforce to me the importance and value of  genuine listening within the workplace and the significant positive impact that it can bring.

Listening is one of the most important skills for leaders, mangers and businesses to master, however it seems that it’s one that is rarely acknowledged or practised. Genuine listening is possibly one of the most overlooked leadership skills and business priorities.

Listening can be compared to a muscle : you have to consciously work at it to improve it and maintain its strength. Effective listening requires education, awareness, practise and commitment.

Even in a world of limitless instantaneous global connection, I believe that the most powerful mode of communication is that of two people listening to each other. You would think that listening to customers and employees to get their views and feedback would be common practise, however in reality it is surprising how little listening at a genuine level happens in today’s workplace.

Genuine listening has become a rare gift , but it can build relationships, solve and avoid problems, ensure understanding and ultimately build value.

How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, your leadership ability and the quality of relationships with both your external and internal customers.

By listening to your team members, you can tap into their creativity and learn from them, proactively asking for ideas, suggestions and feedback, which in turn encourages commitment and high levels of employees engagement.

Adopting a more effective listening culture can also support your bottom line as your team will feel more engaged and motivated and may well have the answers to many of your business challenges. The worst thing you can do however, however, is to ask for input and then ignore it.

Demonstrate you’ve listened to both your external and internal customers and reinforce that their feedback has been valued. Acknowledge and thank them, get back to them with any follow up, and then commit and take some appropriate or relevant action.

Listening builds loyalty, commitment and trust with both your external and internal customers. Create a listening culture within your business and build genuine value for your customers and teams.