One-sided customer relationships are painful and upsetting.
When a customer enters a relationship with a business or brand, it implies that there will be a two-way communication, with both parties learning and supporting each other in order to get the best results, service or products possible. However, this cumulative learning process is something that businesses often struggle with, due to a myriad of reasons.
As a result, it may often feel like a company is constantly putting themselves first, not thinking about you, your needs or your feelings, and only seeing things from their point of view.
I see this behaviour a lot in the business world where brands fail to put the customer first. All too often, companies have a tunnel vision when it comes to what they’re offering the customer, without considering whether their customers are looking for it or need it.
Getting personal with customers
Time and time again, businesses think their products will solve the needs of their customer without even understanding the needs of the customer. You hear of businesses talking about their value proposition and how their products will help customers achieve X, Y and Z, but there’s little understanding about the challenges they face or the reasons they’re turning to that product or service.
A common problem is that a lot of brands fail to consider the person behind the customer, and view them as metrics. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that your customers want your product or service because it’s easy to use or saves them time. However, once you start to think about these metrics as people, you’ll realise they’re faced with a whole host of day-to-day challenges. When you begin to ask the following questions, you start to think a little differently:
- What do they do in the morning?
- What are their hour-by-hour challenges?
- What are they trying to achieve?
- What’s stopping them from achieving this?
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that your customers want your product or service because it’s easy to use or saves them time.
Putting the customer first
As business leaders, it’s vital that you create a culture where the customer sits at the core of everything you do. Empathy must be at the centre of your audience research. When it comes to crafting your audience personas you should avoid one-sided monologues with your audiences and fully immerse yourself in their world. This process is essential to understanding each person, who they are and what success looks like for them. Businesses often lose themselves in their own targets and objectives, which places the customer on the back-burner.
So, how do you create empathy with your customers?
In order to empathise with your customers, you need to become self-aware. When you demonstrate empathy internally, it will reflect empathy externally. Try to really understand the challenges in your business and what drives and motivates your teams.
- What are they looking to achieve?
- Why are they looking to achieve this?
- How can you help them achieve this?
When you demonstrate empathy internally, it will reflect empathy externally.
When you observe your customers, you’ll see who they really are, what makes them tick and what they are trying to achieve. What do they enjoy about what they’re doing? What do they not enjoy? What’s stopping them from doing what they need to do?
2. Be a great listener.
Give people a chance to express themselves without interruption. It’s important to get all the details and to really hear what people are telling you. Create a platform to do this, space where it’s comfortable for them to open up.
“It’s important to get all the details and to really hear what people are telling you.”
3. Suspend judgement.
If you start to think about fixing the problem, you’re not really appreciating the situation in front of you. It’s important not to cast judgement and make suggestions until you have all the details.
4. Put aside your own views.
In order to focus on the end-user, it’s vital that your organisation focuses on end-user needs and not your own agenda.
Instilling a culture where empathy is used to create a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs will enable you to understand how your people, products, and services really enrich the lives of your customers.
If you wish to find out more about how we can help you develop empathetic, two-way relationships with your customers and build audience-led personas, messaging and journey maps, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 454 8181.