Pay Attention to What Your Customers Aren’t Saying

by Ken Mueller on July 30, 2013 · 7 comments

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2013 07 29 14.25.37 Pay Attention to What Your Customers Arent SayingShadow is miserable.

As I sit here writing this, my 100-pound chocolate lab is busy licking and biting at himself. He doesn’t have fleas or ticks. I know, because I’ve checked. Numerous times. In fact, I take precautions to prevent any sort of flea and tick invasion.

But from experience, I know that Shadow suffers from allergies. We’ve already moved him to a grain-free diet that puts a bit of pressure on the bank account. I also know that every summer he gets this way. Like clockwork. And the only remedy is to get him to the vet to get some sort of shot that relieves the itching. And while this incessant biting, licking, and scratching has been going on for some time, I have yet to make the call to the vet. Though I will be doing so today.

You see, Shadow doesn’t tell me he’s itchy. He doesn’t come up to me and ask me to scratch him. But the signs are there. I see him doing it. When I’m in bed at night in the dark, I hear him doing it. And it’s so bad that he’s starting to lose some fur in a few areas. Yes, the evidence is incontrovertible.

And yet, I’ve let it go on for some time, denying him some relief. Why? Because it hasn’t really bothered me that much. I can put up with the sound and the scratching because it’s not me. It’s him. And yes, I know this makes me a bad dog owner, even though I love him dearly.

So now I’m paying attention to him. Not what he is saying, but what he is doing. And how he is acting. Behaviors are important. Your customers might not come up to you and tell you certain things, but you can read their behavior and recognize some things.

Have they stopped coming to your business? Are they showing up less frequently? You might need to find out why, and that might require you to ask them.

Perhaps you are seeing some familiar faces becoming more familiar. It’s a good problem to have, but you should find out why they are coming to you more often. Has something changed on your end or your competitor’s?

Yes, customers do complain, and some will even praise you. But for every one that verbalizes their feedback, there are many more who stay silent. And this applies not only to small businesses, but also to nonprofits and their dealings with donors and volunteers.

How are you paying attention to your customers and their actions, even when they aren’t speaking?

 Pay Attention to What Your Customers Arent Saying
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7 comments
Zhangping Wu
Zhangping Wu

Agree! You have to spend a bit of time on observing what the customers are behaving, and figure out what is their needs; then, go and ask, and try to find a solution for thm.

Rose Stricker
Rose Stricker

Nicely put. This applies to all kinds of relationships, actually. Thank you for sharing. :-)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Ahhh. More of the festering sea change (in my today post). Yes, Ken, we're all afuddle (and I like your word "incontrovertible") with what's occurring right before our very eyes. 

It's another seismic shift in the business and online world; maybe not for those who never engaged, but for we who've been engaged as leaders. Feel it?

Adam | Customer Experience
Adam | Customer Experience

I think you and I are channeling each other this week with the customer silence theme. :)

I really liked your observation "And yet, I’ve let it go on for some time, denying him some relief. Why? Because it hasn’t really bothered me that much. I can put up with the sound and the scratching because it’s not me." I think that dynamic is at play in customer service more than most would like to admit.

Hope Shadow is feeling better!


KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Soulati | Hybrid PR I think we just have a hard time keeping up, as things are changing at an ever increasing page. The good news is that the sound fundamentals remain the same, but how we execute them is what changes.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Adam | Customer Experience He will be soon. Headed out in an hour to the vet to get his shot. And yes, we are on the same channel. My post yesterday also fits in, and even the one I have planned for tomorrow, to a degree. If I get it written. Definitely liked your post on the silent majority. Just got done reading it.

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