Changing Perception One Conversation at a Time
I’m a big believer that if you want to find out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong as a company, you should ask the people who really know. Your customers.
The typical approach for many brands, sometimes including my own, is that we spend too much time talking to, or even shouting at consumers about offers and promotions. The result often is a bunch of noisy confusion, and it really isn’t working for them. Or the companies.
We’re trying something new. Conversations with wireless consumers.
I’m traveling around on a national listening tour where I will sit down in restaurants, coffee shops and talk on the streets with customers from Sprint, and customers from our competitors such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Even though we continuously measure consumer preferences and sentiment, I want to hear what they think about the wireless service they use every day. I want to have a conversation with them to probe deeper into their thinking.
I’ve worked as an entrepreneur running startups and now I lead one of the largest corporations in the country. But no matter where I am, I find it’s always a conversation that offers customers and business leaders alike the ability to learn about each other. It informs us about what is working in a business relationship, what isn’t, and how we can make things much better. I find that if you don’t listen to your customers regularly enough it can skew your perception about what really matters to them.
I also talk all the time with my leadership team and employees at Sprint about how vital it is for us to continuously improve as a company. We must always be striving to make the experience we deliver to our customers tomorrow better than it was today.
Like most businesses, we have a treasure trove of Big Data and we mine it for the insights it can reveal. But to me, there is nothing better than sitting face-to-face with someone and talking. It can be painful to see the frustrated look on the face of a customer who has been disappointed and it’s cool to see someone light up when they talk about the amazing technology that keeps them connected. People depend on their smartphones and other wireless devices, and believe me they can be quite passionate about the services they expect to receive.
I’ve done a couple stops on the listening tour already and I’m getting amazing insights. I’ll share some with you shortly in subsequent posts as I visit with consumers in more cities.
I’m excited about the new ideas we’ll get that might inspire new services, new approaches and new ways of communicating about what we have to offer. But even before that happens, I know that by sitting down with consumers, we’ll be demonstrating how committed we are to providing them an amazing experience.
You tell someone a lot just by how well you listen to them.