- “Do unto others as you would have _____ ___ _____ ____.” (Yes, the Golden Rule)
- “Beauty is in the eyes of ____ _________.”
- “If it were me, this is what __ ______ ___.”
I trust you were able to complete these very common sayings. While well meaning and mostly true, these are not just sayings, they are mindsets. They are beliefs that determine behavior and how we act toward other people. This is all fine except when it comes to service.
Find your focus
In my last blog, I said that service was all about you: your willingness to serve, your decision to serve, your instinct to serve. But what you do—your actual behavior and how you approach a situation—has to be about the customer, if you are genuinely interested in wanting your customer to feel served.
In their original form, these sayings all sound as if they are actually focused on the customer. However, with careful analysis, you will see how they are not:
- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (There’s an assumption here that everyone wants to be treated the way you want to be treated. Not necessarily so!)
- “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” (Guess what? The beholder is you. The customer might see the situation in a completely different way!)
- “If it were me, this is what I would do.” (Oh, wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were all just like you!)
A better approach
If you were to finish those sayings with the customer in mind, they might sound something like this:
- “Do unto others as they want to be done unto.” (Ah yes, The Platinum Rule!)
- “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholden.” (Much better!)
- “If it were me, this is what….” (On second thought—rid your vocabulary of this one altogether!)
At least the first two can be “spun” to focus on the customer. But the last one—“If it were me, this is what I would do”—is one of the most dangerous phrases in the English language. It’s all about you in the worst possible way.
It is advocacy disguised as choice. It completely blocks you from understanding or giving any consideration to how other people think, feel, make decisions, or in any way might act differently than you would in a given situation. Unless you’re giving casual advice to a friend, stay away from this one.
A one word reminder
So what’s the cure for, “If it were me, this is what I would do” syndrome? In a word, LISTENING.
Listen to understand. Listen to be influenced. Listen to learn. And when you’ve felt that you’ve heard enough—listen just a little bit more—it really is the best way to put yourself in the customer mindset!
About the author:
Ann Phillips is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. You can read Ann’s posts as a part of our customer service series which appears on the first and third Thursday of each month.