Learning to listen, espcially since the customer is always right

Last week, a client’s email set-up was only partially receiving emails. Originally, I thought that this was because of the client’s inability to use Outlook. Allow me to explain what happened.When the client’s website was finally uploaded live, it was setup at another hosting company. Some of the email address owners had difficulty setting up, which I attributed to the same reason.I spent some time in front of one the client’s computers and set up his outlook. It worked and received a test email via outlook and via his yahoo email account. Problem solved. Or was it?Late last week, the CEO sent me an email which read in part that the IP address (confirmed to be the ISP’s) was blacklisted. Referred this to the ISP, and kept on their backs to get a resolution.The problem was that Spam and Open Relay Blocking System (SORBS) was blacklisting the IP address, which was blocking emails. The ISP terminated the account of the spammer concerned and informed SORBS, so hopefully that problem is solved.Lesson learned. Actually two were learned. First of all, the customer is always right. This old adage is something that a marketer must not forget. I must admit that I did get to learn more about Outlook in the process. But, the customer is right.If there is a complaint, one cannot just dismiss this off-hand. Not that I did. But, I should have given this more importance. In my defence, I did speak with web design colleagues and they agreed with me, with DNS transfer completed, email should work.SORBS and IP blocking did not even come into the picture.Second and more important lesson learned is listen to your customers. We cannot assume that we know what our customer’s needs are, what they’re thinking of at a point in time or why they need our help. Let’s face it, as a marketer, our raison d’être is to serve our customers. Full stop.No customer, no us.Listening is both an art and a science. Communication is two-way street. It starts with listening. If we communicate as part of our marketing effort, we should be prepared to listen, to get feedback.While the points I’ve given here appear to be pretty basic. They should be noted and reconsidered. Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees, when we’re caught in the fast-paced world of today.These lessons are applicable to anyone in business. And, they’re very valuable that we should not just brush them aside. After all, if we cannot communicate and listen to our customers and we don’t believe that they are always right, we will probably be out-of-business pretty quickly.Worth a thought.

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