What’s your company’s listening quotient?

Best Buy recently launched Idea X – a platform for customers to comment, express and share their ideas to help Best Buy get more customer-centric.

I quite love the transparency and openness of Best Buy folks to admit that this is a learning phase which will evolve, for the better, over a period of time. Here's what they say about this initiative:

"We're new at this. Its probably going to be messy for awhile. We'll
probably miss stuff. We'll probably screw up. But we'll learn and get
better as fast as we can. We'll blog every two weeks with updates at
first. Then we'll build in new and better ways to talk to you about
your ideas – when we're reviewing them, or implementing them or when we
decide we just can't do anything with them. We'll always be honest. We
can promise we're all going to do our best. That means listening
closely, talking openly about the ideas that you've shared. And trying
our hardest to make it happen."

The most interesting comment regarding this, is of Barry Judge, CMO, Best Buy – " Robert Stephens, the founder of Geek Squad, once told me “the easier
you make it for customers to complain, the better your product will
become…These days, it’s easy to be more accessible. Truly, the only
limitations are cultural. We are doing a lot of experiments in being
more accessible. Our latest test, Best Buy IdeaXchange, is a web site
that is intended to enable consumers (and employees) to give us
feedback on what they would like to see us do to make Best Buy a better
place to shop."

Results: Over the last 2 weeks, Best Buy seems to have received over 200 ideas!

My view

Engagement is the new branding. The more companies become accessible to customers, the more customers will trust them. Opening-up newer and newer channels is critical. It is important to behave openly and be able to let your customers know that as a company you are trying your best and there will be mistakes but you will definitely improve as you go along.

Remember, customers only punish indifference but they forgive mistakes.

Some questions you may want to ask yourselves to increase your Listening Quotient:

  1. Are you as a company accessible to millions of your customers and do you have channel to start a dialog and hear them?
  2. Do you as a company and management team have the maturity to listen to customer problems, new ideas and learn from them?
  3. What's your company management team's Listening Quotient? Do you measure them?
  4. How do you convert the Listening Quotient into top priority for action across the company? 
  5. Is there one member of your company's various departments in charge of taking action on these priority areas?

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