Walk In Your Customer's Shoes

Aug 23, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

We give lip service to “customer service”.  Every mission statement says we have the highest quality service.  We see signs on salesman’s walls about the customer is always right.  But, how often do your receive service beyond your expectations…even the lowered expectations of today’s marketplace?

Our customers have issues.  They need us right?  How can we best help them?  How can we provide them with the service we claim we excel at?

Jesus Came And Walked In Our Shoes

God knows this one just like He knows everything else.  He saw how messed up His people made their lives.  He knew we couldn’t do it on our own.  He knew we wouldn’t find our own way back to Him.  So He sent Jesus.

He sent Jesus to walk along with us as a man.

Jesus came to walk in our shoes.

Why?  Because we are stubborn creatures.  Even though we have made a mess of things we still think we have it all figured out.  In our own human state, we need to maintain control and fix it!  How soon we forget that we are the ones who made the mess to begin with.

God knew that He had to show us someone, who put their pants on one leg at a time, doing it better than we do it.  Jesus came to walk among us to show us that you can live in this crazy Satan filled world and still follow God in all things.

Been There, Done That, Overcame It

Our customer’s need to know that we really understand them and their specific situation.  They need to know we have been there and succeeded through the problems and pain they face.

If I have a broken dishwasher, I want a person that has repaired lots of dishwashers with my same problem to come and fix it.  I don’t want to hire a washing machine repairman and assume it is close enough.

As a coach and consultant, I think it is very important for clients to know that I have faced their opportunities and threats before.  And even more, they want to make sure that I really get their issues.  How many times when you talk to a friend about business do they start a sentence with “You don’t understand how difficult……”?  It is in our human nature to believe that our problems are unique.

3 Tips on Better Understanding Our Customers

As a service provider here are some things I do to try to “walk in my client’s shoes”:

  1. Stay within my area of expertise.  As small business owners it is difficult to refuse any kind of business.  However, the more we stay in our areas of expertise, the more likely it is that we will have experienced, exactly what our customers are experiencing, at some point in our lives.  We listen to Jesus and try to be more like Him in leading a sinless life.  Why?  Because we know He did it.  And He did it living in this world with Satan going after Him just like Satan comes after us.  Jesus is an expert at living the sinless life in the face of temptation.
  2. Experience my client’s world.  More and more I find it important to meet with client’s employees, bankers, or other stakeholders in their business to really get a feel for their situation, environment, talent, obstacles, and opportunities.  By spending time with them in their business the perspective changes from one dimension to three-dimensional.  Once I have been with the client in their world, I can speak in their language.  Jesus told his disciples to take up their cross and follow Him.  He told them to leave their jobs, their family, everything.  But they also knew that He had done the same.  He left his family.  He left his carpentry work.  He went off to do God’s work.  Remember when someone interrupted Jesus and told Him his mother and brothers were there to see him.  He said that the people following God were his mother and brothers.
  3. Care about your customer’s need like it was your own.  The bible is full of heart vs. head.  Jesus looks to our heart.  Our heart is where we spend our time and attention.  Your customers know if you care about them and their business, or not.  They know the difference between you caring about them as a paying customer versus caring about their success, their car being safe, their money having a fair return, or even how their hair looks when they leave your salon.  If you don’t care about them and their shoes, maybe you are in the wrong business!  With my clients I really try to think like their business is my business.  When I talk to them about their business I always speak like I am part of their team.  “What we need to do is…”  I fully invest myself in my client’s world.

In today’s marketplace there are few businesses that live up to the mission plaque collecting dust on their walls.  Service, in general, is mediocre at best, and many times dismal.

Small business owners are always looking for a point of difference.  It doesn’t work well to just spout out the “we have the highest quality service in town” line that everyone else is lying about too.

Go ahead and walk in your customer’s shoes for a while.  Lean into their needs and focus on being a solution in their world.  It will make all of the difference.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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