I’m always talking to people about getting into their customer’s heads and walking around in their shoes. Â It is something I think about A LOT. Â Today I saw this video on hula-hooping from the hula-hoop’s perspective. Â The people who made it took a woman who is obviously really good at hula-hooping and attached a camera to her hula-hoop. Â The result? Â The camera is basically standing still and she moves like crazy. Â If you didn’t know what the video was, it would take awhile to figure out how she could move like that!
But obviously fun camera stunts is not the point. Â The point is, from the camera’s point of view, the activity seems totally different. Â The hula-hooper (we’ll just make that a word) had no idea the video would look the way it does. Even if she did, she had to really stop and think what it would look like. Â My hunch is they expected it to make a person really dizzy. (But, kudos for even considering there is another perspective!) Â So, how can you attach a camera to the other side of your interactions? Â Do you have someone you can trust to give you that kind of feedback? Â Someone who has experienced your customer interaction from the other side that could really show you what it looks like?
I’m also thinking about this because I know a business owner who is making mistakes that are from a lack of sitting in the other person’s shoes. She is reacting too fast and not paying attention to the details giving off a vibe that she really doesn’t care. Also her responses are very canned so she gives the impression she doesn’t want the business. It is frustrating to watch because she isn’t like that – she’s really caring and is just overly excited to get the business. So I have to find a way to sit her down and talk to her about these problems without hurting her feelings. Personally I would like to see her succeed but I don’t have any vested interest in her business. If she takes the discussion well, she can learn from it. Â If not, well, we’ll have some weird interactions at some networking events but otherwise it won’t bother me. Â But at the same time it will take time out of my day to do something that isn’t pleasant and may hurt her feelings. So I’m in a quandary.
So, rather than be this individual and put me in this position with you (please don’t!) – I ask you: Â What have you done lately to put yourself in place of your customers? Â Have you done the little things like called yourself when you aren’t there? Â If it rings 18 times while it forwards to multiple numbers I will guarantee you are losing calls. Or, if your voice mail goes on forever, people give up. Â In this cell phone world, people make calls as they are walking into meetings and have people staring at them waiting for them to get done! Â (If you have to leave a bunch of information at the beginning of your message, start it with the key to skip the message.) Â Have you filled out your forms, or given yourself a proposal? Â What information do you really want and need? Â Make that easy. Â Have you tried to file your emails and then look them up by subject? Â Blank subjects or subjects that aren’t related to something specific (i.e. “Thought you might be interested” vs. “Interesting article on Widgets”) means if the person wants to go back and pull that out they have a hard time.
If you have a coworker, use them to walk through your processes as a client. Â Have them ask “why” you are doing everything you are doing. Â Most things should be self-evident but if it isn’t, that’s when you have to question. Â Because the key to remember is the customer, like the camera, sees the hula-hooper going around it vs. the other way around!