Shout about Listening

Shout about Listening

By Maz Amirahmadi · 15 September 2016 · 2 minute read

Let’s start with a couple of questions. First one:

Q1 - What’s the difference between Hearing and Listening?

A1 - Listening is a choice, hearing is not.


And question number 2…

Q2 – What’s the best way to show someone you are listening?

A2 – Summarise back the things they have told you.


These two questions represent our guiding principles for setting up customer insight communities. The first is that brands should make a conscious decision to listen to customers. It seems pretty obvious of course and is the main reason why so many brands are now embracing customer communities.

The second principle is what we call the ‘feedback loop’, i.e. summarising back the things you have learnt from the community. It’s amazing how engaged a customer can feel when a brand demonstrates they have listened. By example, back in 2011, we set up a customer community for a major telco. It was only a small community of around 50 customers. The first activity the community did was go to their local telco shop and ask for a particular service, kind of like a customer mystery shop. The feedback was very negative as the service these customers received was deemed to be very frustrating. Rather than running away from the problem, the telco wrote a letter to these customers outlining the things that they had learnt and how they planned to improve the service. The community members were impresses, so much so that after 12 months not one community member had dropped off. The monetary incentive to be on the community was small, but the payback in terms of being heard was significant.

The neat thing is that brands choosing to listen are doing so with pride. One case in point is the recent launch of the Fox Sports community (here’s the promo video for the community – click here).

Listening is a choice. If you are a brand that chooses to listen, shout out and make some noise about it. Your customers will love you for it.