But I've Waited In All Day!!!:
Seeing Your Business Through Your Customers' Eyes
What can fly but doesn’t have wings?
Could it possibly be… time?
It most certainly could.
And here’s another riddle. The #1 most important factor in customer loyalty?
It’s the reduction of customer effort, according to Harvard Business Review.
And the best way to reduce customer effort?
By helping you customers make the very most of their time. By saving them time. Not wasting their time. By making, not just the money, but the time they spend with you as rewarding as possible.
It’s time that really, really… really matters. Time is a blade. Forrester Research reporting that ‘77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service’.
Tick Tock Fume
We’ve all been there. Utterly fed up with a no-show delivery. Or sick of being stuck on hold. Made to queue. Forced to wait. ‘Computer says no’, kind of stuff. Blind alley, goosechase, snotty receptionist kind of stuff. Tick, tock, fume.
And when a supplier abuses your time? What do you do? What do we all do? We swear blind we’ll never use that company again. That’s it. No more. Never. Ever. Again. But more than that and much more damaging to your newly blacklisted nemesis is the fact that more likely than not you’ll tell anyone who’ll listen just how shoddily you’ve been treated. How remarkably inept they are. What a rubbish service you’ve received.
And I’m not talking about just moaning to a mate at work. These days complaining can take on epic social media proportions. Industrial scale grumbling that can quickly shred a hard won reputation.
Based on a 1981 research piece for Coca-Cola found a rule of marketing thumb emerged stating that an unhappy customer will tell 10 people about the poor service they received.
10? Fat chance. Not these days. More like 10 thousand. 10 million.
When the last thing any business wants is to waste customers’ time and end up copping a load of damaging flak, what’s the first thing they should do to make the most of everyone’s precious time?
Let Every Foot Have Its Own Shoe
Well if you want to cultivate a loyal, loving customer base and a positive public perception, the you’ll need to cultivate pathos too.
Pathos (/ˈpeɪθɒs/, US: /ˈpeɪθoʊs/; plural: pathea; Greek: πάθος, for "suffering" or "experience"; adjectival form: 'pathetic' from παθητικός) represents an appeal to the emotions of the audience, and elicits feelings that already reside in them. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric (where it is considered one of the three modes of persuasion, alongside ethos and logos), and in literature, film and other narrative art.
Pathos - it’s the ‘pathy’ bit of empathy. The empathy so necessary to truly stand in your customers shoes and see the world from their point of view. The pathological empathy that drives genuine connection and genuinely successful relationships.
So instead of banging on about ‘us’ all the time. ‘We’, ‘we’, ‘we’. Snore. Instead of crashing on about our new products, or world class service, or super cool flim or flam… that ‘we’ve got such a fine tail’, we really ought to take the time to understand what matters to our customers - to design our products and services around their needs not ours.
And as we’ve established, a large part of what people want involves the efficient and respectful handling of their precious, finite and hugely valued time.
Which is a good thing. Because when we understand what our customers really want it changes everything.
"Great marketers have empathy — empathy for what’s going through the other person’s head." says Seth Godin.
He also says, “The perspectives of the people you wish to change will shape how they digest the marketing you present to them. What these people believe in, what worries them, what excites them, and what they desire will influence their decisions far more than any stack of statistics you pitch at them.
Once you start to understand how these people think, you’ll know how to talk with them, rather than market at them. By showing that you understand their needs and hopes, you are much likelier to earn their attention and trust in your ability to fulfill your promises.”
When we bring empathy to the table, we don’t worry about differentiation."
Smart guy. Empathetic guy.
The Real World
In real life though, how does this apply?
In my case by devising products and services to meet pressing customers needs (some they didn’t even realise they had) instead of telling customers what products and services they ought to have. For example our flatpack assembly service that takes furniture buyers’ common and intense dislike of having to hack together new furniture and does all the hard work for them.
Or our 24/7 hospitality and leisure furniture refurbishment teams that help clients avoid expensive downtime.
Or the inhouse developed job scheduling and tracking software links into client CRM systems and keeps our clients fully informed of where their technician is with transparent and accurate information on arrival times and job status.
Unlike competitors we don’t make you wait in all day not knowing when your technician will show up, our accurate time slots mean you can easily manage your time.
We’re also lightning quick off the mark. The B of the bang and all that. In our case… the R of rapid response 🙂
Why? How? By listening, by quizzing, by questioning, by being open, by being empathetic.
And the truth is you’ll never get it right always. But if you can always take the criticisms, take the complaints and put your hand up and admit, ‘we’re sorry if we’ve wasted your time, yes we could have done better, we’re listening, we’re learning and we’re working hard to get it right next time,’ then yes, you’re showing empathy. You’re turning a time wasting problem into a time saving opportunity.
And isn’t that what business is all about?
Time I signed off.
Thanks for reading.