The Hot Seat: The Power of Active Listening

The Hot Seat: The Power of Active Listening

By Nathan Sanders, CEO at Brook Furniture Rental

Rumor has it that Henry Ford once declared, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Smirking aside, it’s a familiar challenge for businesses. Customers know there’s a problem (in this case, they want to get from A to B more quickly) but they don’t know what the best solution is. So the question remains: How do you solve a challenge when the solution isn’t clear?

Answer: You listen.

We’re All Ears

It’s easy to say you’re a good listener. Nod in the right places, add a thoughtful “mm-hmm” when needed. Plenty of companies ask for customer feedback—but how many are actually listening? And how many are taking action on that feedback?

At Brook, we challenge ourselves to listen… really listen. When our customers tell us what they need or what they’re missing, we first look to identify what’s in the way. Then we work on finding a solution that’s quick, smart, and easy to use.

phone with quote about listening

Customers today are telling us it’s harder than ever to serve their clients, whether that’s due to labor shortages, supply chain and inventory challenges, transportation delays, or all of the above. And while it’s tough to admit, these issues aren’t going away. We can’t go back to “business as usual.” We have to adapt and transform, so we can conduct business in the most efficient way possible. And we have to figure it out together.

Transforming ‘Business as Usual’

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, we began a journey to transform the way we operate, connect, and engage with our customers. They asked us, “How can you make the furniture rental process easier for me?” We listened. We boiled down the challenge into three areas: delivery capacity, furniture availability, and self-service ordering capabilities. And then we took action.

Some solutions are found. Some are created. We took the latter approach, developing a brand-new self-service portal with real-time inventory updates and sharper insights into delivery capacity. We built customized, co-branded landing pages to give customers a one-stop-shop, and a Track-My-Truck feature so they can follow their furniture to their door. And we designed a new D2C website that’s more user-friendly than ever before. These are solutions that will save our customers time and energy, at a time when there is no shortage of challenges being thrown their way.

When our customers asked us for help, we listened. At Brook, we’ve embraced technology to give our customers faster horses—in the form of solutions that are widely available and easy to use. The journey isn’t over, of course. We will continue to leverage technology to create an accessible environment where our customers feel seen, heard, and taken care of. I am excited to see where we can go, together, in 2022 and beyond.

Thanks for listening. Happy new year!