In today’s society, listening to one another has unfortunately become something that is neglected. Imagine, if everyone listened to one another and actually made them feel like they were being heard, would we be facing the same challenges in the world that we currently face?
In the business world, the same applies; the more you listen to your customers and make them feel heard, you will see better results and maintain customer loyalty. Your technology product is the perfect conduit for making this possible. By now, everyone should have some sort of listening mechanism embedded into their products, enabling your customers to give you feedback and say what’s on their mind, whether it be praise or complaints.
Inevitably, you are going to receive feedback that is not flattering. It is what you do with that information that will separate your organization from others. We follow a simple model called A-R-P that you can also incorporate into how you respond to your customers’ input. This model may be different from other A-R-P models you are familiar with, but will enable your organization to make your customers feel like they are being heard. The model is as follows:
- Acknowledge – The first step is to acknowledge that your customer faced a challenge with a level of sincerity, empathy, and authenticity. When doing this, you do not need to accept blame for the challenge they are facing or agree with them, however, you need to make sure that the customer does not feel blame or feel wrong about the concern they are raising. Your goal should be to acknowledge their pain and validate their feelings, which can diffuse any anxiety and frustration they may be feeling.
- Recommit – Next, you should look to recommit to your customer to show that they are important to you, and to take ownership of seeking a resolution to their concern. The concern they are raising could very well be something that was caused by someone in your organization, but it is important not to play the blame game. Your customer is looking at your organization as a whole, not one person. Blaming will only undermine the integrity of your organization and impact your reputation negatively. As a result of this step, your customer will feel relieved that their concern will be addressed based on your recommitment to the value you provide.
- Plan for action – The last step in this process is to create a plan for action to be taken. This means you need to tell your customer what you intend to do and provide a timeline in which they will hear back from you. When setting the plan, you need to make sure you can absolutely commit to the plan. In fact, you should always seek to surpass your plan. So, if you commit to a delivery on Tuesday, deliver on Monday. Leave your customer with the feeling that you went above and beyond to resolve their concern.
As part of your response to your customer’s challenge or pain, try to find other ways you can deliver value. I will never forget being a new subscriber to Spotify and having an amazing customer service experience to a disruption in service where the representative not only followed this process, but also included a playlist of happy songs to get me through the challenge I was facing. Their speedy and upbeat approach to customer service quickly brought me to a level of advocacy. I’ve told many people about my great experience and here I am sharing it with you. Be a part of that great customer service story that your customers will share with their peers!
Sean Flaherty (2015, September 16). The Loyalty Ladder.
Sean Flaherty (2016, April 22). How Tuned In to Your Customers Are You?