5 listening habits that can transform your business

Knowing when and how to ask for something is just as important as knowing what to ask. The sooner we appreciate that, the better response and insights we’ll enjoy when talking to customers.

To help them on their way towards better and faster learning, here are five listening habits I encourage every researcher to adopt:

  1. Create value everywhere. Not just in your product or service. But also in the manner through which you respect your customers’ time. That means no more long surveys. Less is more. Make it easy for all involved to gather and then act upon feedback that’s less noisy and more important (and accurate!).
  2. Know that your opinion is almost certainly not statistically significant. If you are not the center of the universe, neither are the opinions and beliefs you hold. In fact, your opinion is just one of many. Just because you or I think we have a good idea, doesn’t mean others will agree. So, you must test your ideas with large sample sizes. Only then will you know if you’re on to something.
  3. Treat data and evidence as your friends. Because they exist to help and inform you. Even if mounting evidence doesn’t support your hard-fought ideas or are threatening (which can be especially true in large enterprises or traditional businesses), remember that data is unbiased and unconditional. That’s the kind of advice you want. Objective. Not trying to impress. Just calling it like it is. Of course, data is often open to interpretation. If that’s the case, test the leading interpretation with even more fact-finding.
  4. There’s no such thing as digital strategy. There is only strategy and people who interact with us via their digital devices. In most large organizations, adopting this approach better aligns everyone’s activity. Placing “digital” on an island inherently risks the creation of an artificial gap between the strategic objectives of senior leadership and “the digital team.”
  5. Don’t ask too much. Small data is more readily actionable than big data because it doesn’t overwhelm decision-makers, it’s less complex (and therefore less likely to be misinterpreted), and it leads to faster learning. So tame your big data. Let your customers needs drive your analytics & insights strategy. Use a micro survey to combine how people feel with the big data sets you’re already collecting.