There are people in the world who just lack self-awareness.
You know the type. Those who speak at full volume in a movie theater. Those characters who tell inappropriate jokes and silence the room, but continue laughing at their humor. Or maybe it’s the guy who loves to play victim – he can’t believe he was fired AGAIN because he always gets a boss who just “doesn’t get it.”
I personally think total self-awareness is impossible.
After all, we’re on the inside looking out, never the other way around. How do we truly know how we come across? How do we know if we really impressed someone or if they were just being polite?
The same challenge lies within organizations.
It’s difficult for anyone to truly understand the experience their customers have. After all, each person within the organization has a role to play. There are specific, time-sensitive challenges and goals tied to each person’s compensation. It becomes the individual’s sole job to focus on those goals. If my goal is to achieve a certain sales quota, you better believe that’s what I’m focused on each and every day.
It’s not easy to admit we can’t see the forest for the trees. I joke sometimes how I only work with “enlightened leaders,” because so few leaders can really hear the truth. Are you being as self-aware as you can be for your customers?
Here are some patterns I see ALL THE TIME.
- Different departments working on different parts of the experience mean the customers have to re-learn how things work. GOOGLE, are you listening!?
- Sales goals or other short-term initiatives mean customers get certain treatment based, literally, on the day. Want a deal? Wait until later in the month, when sales people are pulling out all the stops!
- Customer service seems like it’s working because after a customer finds the service department, they do a good job. Nobody’s asking if there are issues that could be addressed proactively for customers.
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How can you achieve greater self-awareness?
That’s a tough question. How can you do it as an individual? Some of it is mindset about honesty. When you look in the mirror, what do you see, honestly? But if you’re trying on a wedding dress, you want someone else there to tell you “yes, that is indeed the one” as well as “no, that one doesn’t do it for you.” Sometimes you need a third party.
Many are surprised to know my Customer Experience Investigation™ relationships with clients tend to be long-term. If you approach customer experience as a project, it’s destined to fail eventually.
Your marketplace, your products, your people, your customers change all the time. Customer experience is not a project or a thing, but a living, evolving relationship. The only way to truly get a handle on the experience is to constantly, relentlessly evaluate it from the outside looking in, which is where we come in.
Encourage your culture to think about not just how the customer is interacting with your product or department, but the bigger picture. Then do whatever you can do listen to the truth.