Are you listening to your client? If not who is?

I was speaking with an ex Client the other day (She was a client from my time at another firm). She was telling me about the new supplier the hospital system had just brought in. It was a large national company. As they came in to implement they told her about all of the processes she had that they would not be continuing because none of their other clients had these processes.

They had not taken the time to know Jennifer. So, she shared how she was adamant about her processes, because they were working. Then she made her case to her senior management about this approach. She did not just roll over like so many managers do when the edict comes from “corporate”.

In fact she made so much noise that one of the executive leaders of this outsourcing firm came out to visit her. This is not easy you fly into a city and then drive for three hours to get there. (This is the first thing they did right).

He then listened and heard what Jennifer had to say her logic behind it. (This was the second thing he did right) When he left it was with a commitment to keep this process in place. What he did next was remarkable. (It shouldn’t be, it should be what we all do). He went back to his management team and said, “I think many of our clients have the same issue, Jennifer just made more noise about it. We need to listen to our clients.” (This is the third thing he did right).

I know what you are thinking we should not have to be threatened with the loss of an account to decide to listen to our clients. And yet, day in and day out you can hear organizations saying to their customer, “We know better.” And these companies continue to lose clients and then work like hell to acquire new ones.

When do we step back and remember that if we treat our clients like we value them, like they may always be looking to do better, like we appreciate them; perhaps we won’t have to work so hard for the next one.

Are you listening…really listening to your clients? If not who is?

One Comment:

  1. Love how you put this, John. Certainly it shouldn’t be so unusual. And yet you’re absolutely right; it really is not the norm.

    It’s just not very common for organizations to be able to step back and notice the stupidity they are committing. But in fairness, that’s also true of hospitals, churches and governments; pretty much any large group of human beings has great potential to be dumb.

    I think it’s vignettes and stories like this that give us the greatest chance to notice, because of the power of metaphor and stories, how we are behaving, and thence to behave differently.

    Great story, thanks,

    Charlie Green

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