Monday, December 29, 2014

Empathy Leads - Customer Experience Follows

For my final blog of 2014 I’ve decided to address, empathy, a fundamental essence of Customer Experience, by reflecting on the year behind me with no regrets and foreseeing the year in front of me with great optimism.  It’s rewarding every now and then to take stock of one’s entire career and how it has evolved.  I spent four years in the US Air Force, returned to work in the science arena, earned a degree in Chemistry and enjoyed several years as an analytical chemist, entering marketing and working with customers and publishing and speaking at conferences, getting into the field of laboratory automation and robotics and selling systems, managing training and teaching clients programming skills, becoming a training road-warrior for several years before landing in the role of Customer Experience Manager.

That last role of Customer Experience Manager is significant for me because it’s the profession I believe I was destined to be in and working toward along my entire career path.  It just took a lot of stepping stones for me to get there.  So now that I’m finally here, I want to share my thoughts about what I believe it means to be customer centric.  The old well-worn, often misused, and mostly misinterpreted term; “charity begins at home” I feel sums up the true meaning, intent, and starting point of customer-centricity—charity being characterized as a state of mind, a mentality of kindness, and benevolence.

As consumers we are on the receiving end of customer-centricity daily and we are also on the giving end as we serve others in both our work-life and in our private lives—the dual nature of customer-centricity. How we act and react to every aspect of life has an obvious effect on us and on others.  As a Training Instructor, for example, I always felt that I learned as much from students as they hopefully learned from me.  When I attend a lecture or any kind of training session, I feel I learn as much, if not more, about teaching techniques as I do from the subject matter itself—yin and yang, if you will. 

I’m not into New Year resolutions in the traditional sense as I feel they are more or less wishful thinking that is soon abandoned.  Having just left a full-time position with a B2B corporate giant after 17+ years, I’m feeling excited yet cautiously optimistic about 2015.  I’m also making a significant transition from being a practitioner of customer experience to becoming a provider of customer experience.  Consequently, my one thought and personal commitment for 2015 is to think about my intent and approach toward life by expressing more empathy on a daily basis to build a better me from a customer-centric provider perspective.

I share a couple of simple examples:

  1. When that traffic signal in the distance turns from green to yellow, I will consider slowing down and stopping rather than pressing the accelerator to the floor-board to gain an extra 3 seconds of time in my day.  I’ll also hope that someone else in the same situation will consider the same for the sake of my safety.
  2. I will chose to smile and with compassion inquire how the day is going to that cashier at Wal-Mart who may be nearing the end of a long laborious shift and who may have had enough of impatient and irritable shoppers.  

Emotions motivate individual behaviors which in turn can create either a positive or negative customer experience.  Being more customer-centric from a provider perspective, means being more empathetic toward those on the receiving end of our individual output.  As the total customer experience is the sum of all interactions, my aim is to slow down; think ahead; and ensure that my individual interactions are positive and embraced with empathy and understanding first—leaving judgment for last.

No comments:

Post a Comment