Is there a secret to great customer service? Is there a secret to great customer experiences? Is there a secret to cultivating genuine-meaningful-profitable relationships with customers? Is there a secret to authentic customer centricity? I say there is. I also say that it does not lie in the places where almost all organisations are focussed on: data, analytics, process and technology.
Data, analytics, process and technology are content. Think of these as the walls, floors and roof of a house. What do they rest on? The foundation. What happens if the right foundation is not in place?
Using an organic metaphor, I say that data, analytics, process and technology are seeds. What if they are being planted in a desert? If you want to genuinely connect with your customers and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships then you have to cultivate the right ‘soil’ for such a relationship to sprout. What kind of ‘soil’ am I pointing at? I am pointing at the very ground of your being-in-the-world, the way that you automatically show up in the world. Think of it as the presence and possibility that walks into the room when you walk into the room.
I am also pointing at the very ground of your organisation’s being-in-the-world. I am not talking here about brand values cooked up by marketing nor about cultural values cooked up by the Tops or HR. I am pointing at ‘what is so’ in terms of your organisation’s people, priorities, policies, practices, products, processes and platforms.
I get that you are not likely to be used to my way of speaking. So allow me to give you a concrete example of what I mean by ‘the very ground of your being-in-the-world’. Please read the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi:
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependant on us. We are dependant on him. He is not an interruption on our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider on our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.
I invite you to read it again. Now ask yourself, how true is each of these statements for me, for my team members, for my organisation? Now take a look at the many organisations spending money on VoC, customer analytics, customer journey mapping, process redesign, and technology implementation in the name of customer focus, customer experience and customer-centricity. How true are these statements for these organisations?
I say that the access to great customer service, great customer experience, and authentic customer-centricity is empathy, generosity, and compassion.
I have a question for you to ponder. What becomes possible if you:
- truly treat your customers as if they were the most important visitors on your premises?
- showed up in the world in way that honored your customers and never treated them as interruptions to your business?
- truly embraced your customers and considered them to be an intrinsic and essential part of your business?
- focused on simplifying and enriching the lives of your customers in a way that contributed to their wellbeing?
- treated the people who constitute your organisation with dignity and respect where each person was listened to as a person of worth?
Does all this sound unrealistic to you? Would you rather be working on the getting access to the voice of the customer, talking about ROI, changing processes, outsourcing, and implementing CRM and other technologies? That’s totally OK by me. You probably wasted a ton of money on CRM. And I am totally OK with you wasting another ton of money on Customer Experience stuff. It is your money!
If, however, you have some listening to what I am pointing at here then I wish to share, with you, this quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
Love is the subtlest force in the world.
Yes, I am a dreamer. I dream of a world that works for all, none excluded. I dream of you and I working together to co-create this world. And with that thought I leave you with this final quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
It is beneath human dignity to lose one’s individuality and become a mere cog in the machine.