Ah the ever important message: see through the eyes of your customer, not your own eyes. This is very important because often we filter things based on our own preferences, viewpoint, biases, etc.

Several times this week I’ve seen examples of a retail store person speaking to me in a way that might make sense to them, but actually doesn’t create a good customer experience. Opportunities if viewed from customer perspective would have come out differently.

Example 1:
I was in Starbucks this morning for a client meeting. I couldn’t remember the name of the hot tea I like so I described to the counter attendant as red tea. She named 2 kinds of red tea, but neither sounded right. I said “maybe it was called passion fruit?” The attendant said “Well that is purple, not red.”

In her eyes the tea I wanted was purple and not red so telling me so might not seem so bad. She was accurate from her vantage point. But she could have said, “oh yes passion fruit tea is reddish colored too, would you like that?” And then I would have been just as happy and felt less chastised. Now this isn’t going to make me stop going to Starbucks, however the slit change in tone and wording would have conveyed a positive experience instead of a mediocre one.

Example 2:
I was in Staples and asked a staff member if they were able to help me or if they were otherwise busy. He came over and said “of course I can help you this is my department” – not in a nice tone, but a tone that sounded like “duh, of course I can help you I’m near you so I have to”. I even asked in a tentative tone because with questions for help, I often am rejected or rebuffed and I didn’t actually expect help. Just an another opportunity to say “I’d be happy to help you, what do you need?”

Seeing through the eyes of the customer, can really change your tune.