Listen to Me!

Companies spend a lot of time and money watching customers, trying to figure them out, but so little time listening to them. They can use a wealth of new technologies to learn what their customers want, but, just as important, they need to listen in order to make customers feel listened to.

SAN FRANCISCO – Last week, I wrote a 140-character hotel review on Twitter: “Galleria Park Hotel SF rejects noise complaint from ill-trained guest: ‘Next time, ask for an interior room, not just a quiet room.’”

I was frustrated because the hotel management was not listening to me when I asked for a quiet room – or later, when I complained. Instead of training their employees to listen, they were telling me that I hadn’t made the right request. And the hotel managers probably were not listening to me later via Twitter, either.

Of course, it used to be difficult to listen to customers; as a company, you could not station people everywhere to pick up random comments, and few customers cared enough to write actual letters – positive or negative. Service companies such as airlines could ask employees to collect feedback, but it was overly complicated.   

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