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Walk a mile in their shoes

87582281When was the last time you really walked a mile in your customer's shoes.  I am not talking metaphorically here.  I don't mean that you know who they are as people and what matters to them.

I'm talking -- when did you last trace their steps?  When did you last make the effort to truly understand what it's like to do business with you?

  • When did you visit your own website and try to order something?  
  • When did you navigate your own voicemail system?
  • When did you call customer service with a problem?
  • When did you go through the drive-thru?
  • When did you try to explain your billing procedure to someone as though they'd never seen it before?

We all require that our clients go through a series of steps to actually buy something from us.  Have you tried it lately?  Are their irritants or inconveniences you could eliminate?

Let me give you a concrete example.  I recently needed a service for my home.  Because it's the 21st century, I found a possible vendor on Angie's List and visited their website.  I filled out an extensive form, giving them all the information they could possibly need to answer my initial questions and then some.

I hit submit and within 10 minutes, I was getting a call back, to schedule a time to get an estimate.  So far, so good.  Then, the person asked me for my address.  I gave it to him, even though I had just typed it.  He asked me a couple more questions.  Again, I gave him answers, even though I had just entered them.

Finally I said -- "I'm confused. Why are you asking me these questions?  Clearly you got the form I filled out or you wouldn't have called me.  I've already answered all of these."

Turns out it is a franchise and he's in Texas. He explained to me that within their system, just just receives my name and phone number and to schedule to appointment, he needs to get the rest of the information. 

What?

How is that best for me?  How is that respectful of my time?  And if you treat me that way when you're wooing me to become a client, are you even less helpful once I'm on the hook?

Was it a big deal?  Not really.  But, it was discouraging.  Here's another company that does things in a way that suits them, not me.  

Do you leave your customers feeling that way?  How do you know if you don't walk in their shoes?

 

~ Drew

 

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