The simple yet effective art of listening
Acting on the voice of the customer
James Hunnybourne, Chief Revenue Officer, Ultima
What makes customer experience great? Is it communication? Self-awareness? Problem-solving? Those attributes are certainly a good place to start if 2023 is to be the year of resilience. But what about the ability to listen too – resilient people are good listeners, right?
of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025
Of course, the debate on what makes for good customer experience isn’t a new one. Despite decades of business experience, countless surveys and limitless ‘gurus’ advising on the topic, it still feels like somewhat of a north star. Something to strive for but rarely possible to reach. The world keeps changing and with it, the measures of what makes a brand interaction memorable.
Perhaps it’s a generational thing. There’s definitely something to be said for the rich blend that four generations of people bring to the workplace. Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and baby boomers combine to create reactive and proactive opportunities to manage a more resilient business and workforce. Add into the mix a modern, digital-first approach, and expectations of a working environment are now as much about gaining value as they are giving value.
Leading by example
Gartner’s Future of Sales research shows that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.1 On one hand, this supports the efficiencies and speed to market that come with IT acceleration – transforming services with things like automation, online licence renewals, digital communications and chat bots. On the other hand, increased digital poses the threat of dehumanising the workforce environment.
As business leaders – and especially as we face the additional pressures of a challenging economy and continuing skills shortages – our joint mission has to be to get the balance right so that our people are motivated, empowered and feel stronger as a result of the technology available. How then, do we do this?
At Ultima, we believe it starts with the courage to ask the hard questions, listen to what comes back and act upon the findings as a fundamental strategy.
Ask, listen, act
We believe that every person in our organisation has a KPI to support every one of our customers who have entrusted their reputation, resources and future revenue generation to the expert advice and management that we provide. It sounds like quite the responsibility, doesn’t it? But in truth, it has to be even more than that.
In our view, the best way we will help our customers’ voices to be heard in 2023 is to listen. And this has to sit at the heart of our culture and drive behaviours that we are genuinely curious about. The voice of the customer can provide the fuel to a better, more resilient future. So, we must ask, listen and then act with integrity to make it happen.
Ultimately, our customers need to know – and feel – that they’re important to us. Businesses only get one shot to make an excellent first impression, so we immediately set about understanding what makes a customers’ organisation tick, identify the issues getting in the way, and only then do we begin to work in partnership to establish the right solution.
Top 3 guiding principles
The simple yet effective art of listening is one of the three guiding principles of very own Voice of the Customer 2023 programme. This internal programme is our way of ensuring that our people continue to capture customer insights, make the right recommendations for their unique needs, and prioritise improvements to achieve tangible outcomes.
Here’s what we’ll be aiming to achieve this year:
1. Be knowledgeable in all aspects of your business
2. Be willing to bend the rules, just a little bit, to go the extra mile
3. Listen to what you’re telling us
These steps may seem simple, but you’ll be surprised how many businesses don’t take them. After all, delivering meaningful and lasting change for our customers can only be achieved by following them.
With this in mind, we’ll be launching our UIQ Customer Viewpoint and Insight programme for you in March – a platform for us to ensure your voice is heard to help shape the solutions and services we offer. For further information or questions on how to participate in the programme, please contact UIQ@ultima.co.uk or contact your Account Manager.
“The best way we will help our customers’ voices to be heard in 2023 is to listen”.