Imagine putting a big radar dish on your head and using this as a metaphor for the importance of listening when engaging with customers.

It is through listening that you build rapport and can identify the unique needs of the customer. It is through listening that a customer feels valued. It is even through listening that you can decide whether or not a customer wants to be left alone rather than be ‘hit on’.

Up to 75% of our sensory information is received through our eyes with up to approximately 20% through our ears. Even if these statistics were only an estimate it still reinforces how important it is that we not only listen with our ears but that we also listen through our eyes. By doing this we are so much more likely to gather information that would typically ‘float on by’.

Taking these percentage beyond just face to face engagements reminds us to remain mindful and conscious of how we communicate so we can gain an increased understanding of a situation and make the most relevant choice in how to respond to this situation.

UK’s Sainsbury’s did just this when they listened to a little girl Lily Robinson (aged 3 and 1/2) who wrote to the company to say their tiger bread looked more like giraffe bread. The company listened and changed the name to giraffe bread. In writing to Lily the Customer Manager Chris King signed off with his name and then his age 27 and 1/3 … a nice way to say they indeed listened even to the fine detail.