Your Ego Can (and will) Hurt Your Customers
If you have any kind of customer service arm to your business (which should be all of you) it can be very easy to let your ego get in the way of what your customer really needs. I’ve worked in the service business my whole career, and I’ve noticed a trend where the service provider pushes very hard to assimilate the customer into their culture and system. Most of the time I would actually support this practice, in fact would say that the large majority of the time, it is very important to assimilate your customers into your way of thinking and doing things. It makes selling them more stuff down the line that much easier.
However, there are instances when we can let that principle take over and forget that ultimately, what matters is the customer’s success. But how do you know if you should be pushing for assimilation or not? Here are some tips that should help:
If you find yourself struggling with how long it’s taking for your customers to adopt your practices and thought-processes, that is a pretty good indication that you are trying to move them too fast. It can be very frustrating, because most customers tend to pick it up fairly quickly. That creates an expectation of quick assimilation, and so when someone is taking longer to get there, we almost want to push them harder to get there faster because we have trained ourselves to not have patience for outliers.
Explain More, Do Less
Sometimes your customers won’t really understand why you are trying to get them to change the way they do things. It’s hard for them to be on board with fast implementation of principles that they don’t agree with. It helps to slow down and educate them a little bit on why your way is better, and why they need to make the switch. This can be aggravating as well, because again, most of your customers won’t need all of that extra education, so the one customer that does need it can seem like a problem customer.
What Do They Need? vs. What Do They Need Now?
This is probably the hardest principle to understand as a services company. We’ve worked with hundreds or thousands of customers, so we know what our customers really need. For the sake of getting them to what they really need, we tend to de-emphasize the intermediate steps to get there and over-emphasize the end goal. We want to get them from A to Z so badly (and for good reason, too) that we tend to gloss over steps B-Y. Sometimes what your customer needs now is more important than what they need eventually. Sometimes, for the sake of the customer, you have to stop focusing on getting them to Z and start by getting them to B.
Check Your Ego at the Door
Your experience has taught you a lot about your industry and your particular niche. You could (and probably should) consider yourself an expert in your field. Don’t let that expertise blind you to what your customers actually need. Just because fast-tracking a customer from A to Z was the best thing for 100 business doesn’t mean that it is going to be the best thing for the 101st. You can’t let your experience or your ego get in the way of what is best for the customer. At the end of the day, only the customer matters.