I’ve had a recent experience that highlighted how important it is to focus on customer priorities as opposed to our own.
When we focus on our own priorities, it makes the customer experience painful. Some customers will deal with it, but many more will leave. Focusing on yourself means that you structure timelines according to what is convenient to you. It means that you create messaging that talks about you instead of talking about and to your customer. A focus on you neglects the fact that there is a real person, with real challenges and opportunities sitting on the other side of your process. The process has a thin veil over it that does a poor job of masking your agenda and priorities, making the customer feel like a pawn in your game.
Flip the script and consider what it means to have a truly customer-focused mentality in all that you do. The messaging on your website is directed at the goals, challenges, and questions of your customer. They arrive on your homepage and think, “Ah, this feels like home. They know me.” Your timeline for the project or presentation or training you want to get to the finish line could come completely from asking the right questions about your customer’s commitments and priorities right now, making them feel like a participant in the process. Your milestones and checkpoints along the way could be built collaboratively so your customer feels engaged rather than like they’re being put in a maze with a predetermined outcome.
Being you-focused or customer-focused is a choice. It’s a choice that reflects your business philosophy, the way you treat customers, how you’ll behave in moments of conflict or stress… The list goes on, but in short this choice reflects on everything a potential customer needs to know about you. From a customer standpoint, it feels good to be an engaged participant in the process. In fact, it makes me want to work harder to pay you and create a stronger partnership.
Of course, the opposite is true as well. The more you focus on you, the more I consider the possibility of looking out exclusively for myself. If that means finding someone to replace you, oh well, it doesn’t affect me.
Make a choice, but recognize how that will affect your business/event/nonprofit in the future.