“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” — Peter F. Drucker
If what Mr. Drucker is saying is true (I believe it is), are we as business people doing all we can to fulfill that purpose? I find myself sitting in boardroom after boardroom listening to conversations about financials, regulation, sales, operations, and you would be surprised the number of times the customer is never mentioned. How can we have a business meeting if we’re not talking about our sole purpose of creating and keeping customers? I would suggest were not, and if we invested more time listening to those we serve and wish to serve we would be amazed with what happens next.
With only four months left in 2017, it’s a great time to reflect on your company’s revenue. Some of you might be a little disappointed, and a natural reaction would be interrogating sales and marketing about lackluster performance. But what if you reacted differently? What if this disappointment inspired you to get out of the office and converse with your customers and the prospects you would like to convert. If you approach this listening with a genuine interest to learn, I promise you will uncover things you didn’t know.
There are several benefits of listening, and one of them is those you’re listening to will feel important and valued. Imagine when someone asks for your insight the feeling you get. All of us enjoy sharing views, and when an invitation is issued it feels even more special. By demonstrating a genuine curiosity in learning from your customer, your customer will feel appreciated, and often that appreciation manifests itself into honesty, transparency and loyalty.
Another benefit of listening to customers is you are recommitting yourself to the true purpose of business. You will rediscover the fulfillment of what it means to serve others. It’s tough the further you are from customers to feel you’re being of service. When you ask questions of customers and listen with a genuine curiosity to understand their perspective, you will want nothing more than to uncover ways to serve them, to make their lives easier and to help them achieve their goals. The fulfillment you will feel will re-excite you about the direction of your business.
See Your Results Change
Listening may seem a little obvious and trivial, but I can assure you what’s missing in boardrooms is customer voice. By you investing more of your time in customer listening, you will do your part to change the conversation in your organization. This change and what you learn from listening will help you:
- Know more about customers, competition and the value delivered
- Identify ways you can improve products, services and experiences
- Uncover new ways to serve others now and in the future
- Chart a new path to revenue growth
Leverage customer listening to unlock your business’ full potential. What’s the most interesting insight you’ve gained from listening recently to your customers or prospects?