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How Listening Can Lead To Loyalty

When was the last time you really listened to your clients, your customers, your suppliers, your contractors, your employees – and actually gave them what they really wanted?

Now of course everything within reason – I mean I would like a million dollars, a holiday to the Bahamas and also a house that cleans itself.

“But every day, it is often the simple things people do that wins my loyalty (although gladly accepting any million dollar donations should anyone have some spare change).”

Loyalty in business is what brings people back again and again, it is the level of trust you build around your brand and your offering (both service or product), it is what gets people talking about you when you are not there. And I mean talking in a good way.

“Imagine having people walking around telling everyone else how amazing your experience was – isn’t that the best advertising of all?”

So how do you build up loyalty, especially if your “tribe” is only small? And how the heck does listening, such a passive act, help the loyalty grow and grow right in front of your very eyes?

Well, let me tell you a story. Today, I went to visit my friends at MYOB. They asked me to do a presentation to their team on a topic we had previously discussed. I spoke to them whilst relaxing (I mean working) by the pool in Sydney two weeks ago when I was a finalist in the Women in Finance Awards.

Whilst on the phone, I joked that I can easily be bribed into doing presentations with chocolate. Yes, I am a cheap date, and whilst I do love chocolate, I was only joking as I am quite happy to share my thoughts on areas that I feel are mutually beneficial to my clients, my business, MYOB and of course the software that joins it all together.

The presentation went well (I think). I got a few laughs (at the presentation not at me). Although me telling a story about trying to walk through a window and not a door…they might have been laughing at me then.

After the presentation I did a tour of their Richmond office and boy oh boy…can you please adopt me??

At the end of the tour I was going to leave and I was given a little bag from….Pana Chocolate. I certainly was not expecting a gift for imparting my wisdom about how not to walk through windows (amongst other valuable life lessons including muffins win over stale biscuits).

But what impressed me the most (well after I looked through my loot to work out which flavours I would hide from my hubby and which I would be willing to share) – was that from a 10 minute phone call 3 weeks earlier, MYOB had listened to my one liner saying that I love chocolate. They remembered my sweet spot (pardon the pun) and the simple act of listening to what makes me happy….well….it makes me darn happy.

“So darn happy that I am now writing a blog post about it. Now isn’t that the best advertising of all?”

And that folks, is how listening creates loyalty. Such a small gesture, from such a small conversation, really made me feel yet again, part of a bigger family.

And when you are a small business, juggling working from home, juggling staff in remote locations – life can be pretty lonely. Business certainly has is rough moments, the ups and downs, the struggles, the self doubt – we all face it. Nobody is immune.

But a simple task of listening, really listening to what your customers and clients are telling you, that skill is gold. Worth more than gold if you ask me. Never underestimate the skills you already have – some of them are so powerful if you can just work out how to use them correctly.