There are real people out there with many of the same needs, desires, problems and issues that you have. They have a job to do. They have demands and expectations that need to be met and a boss that at times can expect the impossible. Just like you, they want to be recognized and respected by their peers, supervisors and suppliers for doing a good job and also be rewarded by the company. And, just like you, they have a life outside of work, including family and friends. Sometimes the stress of life impacts their behavior at work, and sometimes the stress of work impacts their life at home.
Customers are human, and like the rest of us, they are sometimes demanding, unreasonable, inconsiderate jerks. In my experience, most people do not want to act in a negative way, and when they do, it is usually because they have some problem or some need that is causing them pain. For most of us, pain is a call to action. We will do whatever we need to do to make the pain go away.
Your customer has specific goals, objectives, measurements and key success factors that will determine their success, raises and bonuses. At the same time, your customer has problems that impact their ability to meet those objectives. Remember this: Your customers’ every action and every request is motivated by some need or some pain. Do you know what it is? It may not be what you think. If you can discover your customers’ real needs and pain and help them to satisfy them, you have the key to a successful relationship.
Our job is to help our customers achieve their goals, eliminate their pain and satisfy their needs while bringing benefit to our companies.
If we are going to be appreciated by our customer, we need to understand what it is that they value. We need to understand their goals, objectives, measurements, key success factors and problems. Every customer is different; they each have different strengths and weaknesses. They each have different definitions of what success means to them. Our challenge and opportunity is to identify what it is that our customer really wants, both as an organization and as individuals, then modify the way that we act and perform so that we deliver the correct results.
Their success depends in large part on you and your performance. Without you, they are unable to do their job. Consider these questions:
What are the biggest problems and challenges that you and your company are facing?
What kind of impact are those problems having on you and the company?
What do you think are the reasons why those problems exist?
What would have to be different for that problem to be eliminated?
How can we help you solve your problems?
During the course of this month, take the time to find out more about your customer. Find out about their company, department and family. Try to learn about their goals for the year. How is their performance measured and in what areas do they need to improve? Write it down. Communicate what you learn with your team. Then take the time to try to figure out how you can help your customer eliminate their pain, achieve their needs and realize their goals. When you can do that, you have earned the right to be viewed as a trusted ally, someone who can be counted on to help. That is really bringing value.
Scott Morey is president of Morey Corp. During his 36-year tenure, the company has experienced marked growth and an expansion of service and product offerings. Morey has played a key role in developing and implementing the company’s best-in-class program management and quality systems. He serves on the board of directors for Morey Corp. and 10G (a joint venture with Caterpillar). He is also a member The Young Presidents’ Organization.