Think Like Your Customer

It’s about more than just putting your customers first. It’s about putting yourself in your customer’s place.

I was reminded of this key point recently not from reading some great leadership book or attending a marketing conference but from my six-year-old daughter Stella on the way to her softball game.

You see, a few weeks ago, I received an email from her coach providing all the details for the season including the schedule, when to arrive for warm-up and an announcement stating a few parents got together and decided it would make things a whole lot easier on everyone if we didn’t do treats after the games this year.

“Absolutely!” I shouted to myself when I first read the email.

It will totally make things easier on me. I was relieved — the weight of going to Target and picking out the perfect snack the girls would like, that wouldn’t melt in the car and be socially acceptable by those anti-sugar, gluten free, non-soda pop parents was totally off my shoulders, and it was one less thing I had to worry about.

Or so I thought.

The first and only question Stella asked me riding to the softball diamond was, “What kind of treat are we going to get after the game?” I tried to explain my way out of it, give her some rationale on why we decided not to do it, say it was a smart choice (whatever that meant), but I quickly realized it was only a good decision for us parents and not the ones who were actually playing the game.

We were only focused on what was easiest for us. We’d completely forgot about what was important and most likely one of the most memorable parts of the softball playing experience — the post-game treat! Heck, when I look back on my beginning years of playing ball, I don’t know how many hits we had or if we even won the game, but I remember like it was yesterday getting a ticket to the concession stand for candy bar (usually a fun dip) and a pop (orange crush all day!).

From the softball field to your business, the quest to provide the ultimate customer experience should start with understanding the experience the customer actually wants.

Every service you add or change and every process you put in place, should start with a question to yourself, “Am I doing this to create a better experience for my clients or am I just trying to simplify my life?”

Sure, creating efficiencies are a key part to building a strong business but make sure it’s not at the sacrifice of what made you successful in the first place.

Building a business around what your customers want and need rather than what’s most convenient, fastest and cheapest for you is a key factor in in not only attracting new clients but converting good customers into exceptional ones who will stay loyal and spread the word.

As for Stella’s softball team, I’ve been one of those parents who haven’t spoken up…well, until now. After writing this, I knew I couldn’t stay silent any longer. I’ve texted the coach to see about reinstating the post-game treats for the rest of the season. At this point, I might get volunteered to bring the treats every time. Stay tuned…

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