Respecting your customer

 

We’re all customers in our own personal lives and instinctively know what we like and dislike in the service that we receive.

 

What may be less intuitive is that we are also all service providers and we all have customers in both our personal lives and our professional lives.

 

But wait… is that true?
The answer to that question depends on our definition of the term “Service”. Dictionary.com defines Service as “an act of helpful activity”. As we all incorporate such acts in our daily lives – be it towards our family, co-workers, friends etc. – we are all service providers.

 

So why is it that when we receive service we demand premium handing, yet we don’t always provide at the same level?

 

I think that what is missing is Respect – and I’m referring to its underlying meaning rather than to its standard meaning. The word Respect consists of two words – “Re” and “Spect”. Re means “again” (e.g. regain, restate) while Spect means “look/see” (e.g. spectacles, spectator). In other words, to respect is to look again.

spectacles

What drives our customers’ expectations and requirements may be less obvious and intuitive than those that drive ourselves as customers. As such, we are called upon to reevaluate and “look again” at their expectations and to understand their origins and driving forces. Only then will we deliver to others what we wish upon ourselves.

 

Imagine a customer who is making an apparent mountain from a molehill. We can either brush it off as an overexcited customer with no sense of proportion; or we can respect them enough to understand that this is probably not the case. Once we change our perception, we will re-spect them by asking the necessary questions, listening to what they are saying (and not saying) and finally understand what is really driving them. Only then can we effectively engage the customer in the same we as we expect to be engaged as customers

 

Respect is one of the main driving forces in building long term win-win relationships and I encourage you to embrace it and use it as often as possible. Simply ask yourself, “do I know why my customers are behaving as they are?”