If you are up to your ears in a stressful situation, it becomes difficult to think clearly. Sometimes, it is best to walk away from a problem, and think about it, rather than try to solve it with an instant solution.
My grandfather used to say: “Even the court jester can teach us something useful.” This saying goes much deeper in meaning and applies to many things – from a Yoga class, to not taking life too seriously, and to the unfortunate way customer feedback is commonly handled by the business world.
As a customer of any service or product – how do you feel when your Email is ignored, your voice mail message is never answered, and you don’t get any feedback or concern, at all, from customer service? We all feel the same – nobody likes to be ignored. The shame of all this is that customer service is getting worse on a global scale.
Knowing this, we should take the time to listen when someone has taken the time to give us a constructive suggestion. When you do acknowledge a suggestion and consider, implement, or try it, you could possibly create a bond for life.
Here is a little story about how listening can pay off. Years ago, I was working at a health club and had a dilemma. I had a personal training client with a weight control problem, but I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
She was exercising, eating the right things, following a new healthy diet, taking Yoga classes, and had made a 30 day turn around in lifestyle, with no results to measure.
I brainstormed with the health club owner with no real success, but we were interrupted by someone who said that I should have my client log everything she eats and drinks.
Well, I took the suggestion and ran with it. I discovered my client was drinking three Cokes a day. She didn’t equate Coke with sugar grams, and didn’t think it was important enough to mention.
After that, she lost five pounds a month, on average, for the next twelve months. That’s an optimum 60 pound weight loss in a year. This particular client kept the weight off.
The person who made that suggestion is still a dear friend to this day. Needless to say, I have every personal training client log their meals, and drinks – just to be certain.
In summary, it doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to listen to customer feedback, or a colleague’s suggestions; but all of us, no matter how important we think we are, must be willing to sit back and listen to constructive advice. This will be the difference between managers of businesses that flourish and those that fail in the twenty-first century.