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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

Finding my voice

Posted: February 9, 2012 - 4:00 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Some time ago, I wrote about “finding your voice” in response to a blog by Seth Godin on “quiet customers who are unhappy but not making a big deal out of it.”

It reminded me that sometimes I am the quiet customer who has left a store, restaurant or even a relationship with a service provider without voicing my displeasure. I may have vowed never to return! As a business owner, I hate to think of my own clients doing that.

The question I asked my readers was “are you listening to what customers are saying to and about you?”

The question I need to ask myself is “why aren’t you speaking up?”

Why is it sometimes so hard to find my voice? I could blame context – one meal in a restaurant is different than the years-long relationship we establish with clients and there are thousands of restaurants to choose from. I could blame complacency – it stunk; it’s over; I want to go home and forget about it. I could even admit that sometimes I’m kind of a wimp about complaining.

But the truth is … sometimes I don’t know what I want and, therefore, I’m not clear and direct about my expectations.

Some of my clients are a great example of how important it is to know what you want. My team and I spend time with them before we begin a project to ensure that we understand what “moves the needle” for them. The best clients give us a balance between good direction and room to be creative. They have a sense of what they want to achieve and the sense to let us help them achieve it. We’re trusted to help clarify – even quantify – objectives; we’re given the latitude to bring our knowledge and experience to the assignment; and we develop a plan based on our capability and insight.

And there you have it … from the very people we counsel on communications comes a critical lesson! Lucky for me, I have this blog to speak up and share it.

  1. Very well said! I find myself having the same problem and I think it stems from the fact that I find complaining more unpleasant than a bad meal (for example). Maybe I am just a wimp as well. At the very least a “pleaser”. I don’t think pleasers fill the world with presidents, but is that such a bad thing?

    Comment by Julie — February 10, 2012 @ 7:23 am

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