CX Insight – The Power of 360 Customer Listening

Alex Allwood ALEX ALLWOOD, Customer Experience, CX, CX Insight

I’m off to S P A C E next week! A fresh, new, experiential conference concept. The aim is collaborative conversations that drive a positive contribution for the future of Australia.       

In preparation, every participant was asked to submit their Superpower – the single thing that you do better than anyone else. 

Listening’s Supreme Importance

My Superpower is Listening – actually it’s 360 Listening. Harvard Business Review defines 360 Listening as “not only listening to what the person is saying, but how they’re saying it.” Now before you discount this modest skill, let me share with you Listening’s supreme importance in developing a customer-centric culture.

Today, most businesses have a customer listening program in place. The majority however, are not deep diving into their customer verbatim feedback with the intent of understand the customer’s perspective; their needs and expectations and what they’re thinking and feeling.

Higher Level Customer Understanding

360 Listening is a step beyond most Voice of Customer programs – it’s immersion into your customer’s world. Instead of fragments of information, 360 Listening provides rich stories through one-on-one, in-depth enquiry.

As the listener in this type of customer conversation, you’re asking questions that give context to the experience, clarify assumptions and provide an understanding of the job the customer is wanting to get done.

By observing through listening and watching for non-verbal conversation cues this form of deep listening provides thematic stories which reveal new sources of value and rich insights.

Customer conversations like these are also a powerful method of connecting customer and culture; providing a narrative that helps employees make sense of information, brings greater understanding and emotionally connects them to what’s really important in the customer world.

Time and time again, in my consulting work with clients, I see the ‘light go on’ when we use 360 Customer Listening to engage employees across the business – that aha! moment is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.

Image source: