37:44 mins

Ep24: Is There Anything ELSE I Can Help You With?

November 21, 2017

We’ve all had the experience of feeling like a company doesn’t care about us, but how many of us have examined how our own clients experience working with us? This week, Jodi and Eliot talk about Thanksgiving and whiskey, Saturday Night Live spoofs, and how all of it relates to keeping your customers and clients happy.

Why is that important for business?

“You see, this phone system consists of a multibillion-dollar matrix of space age technology that is so sophisticated – even we can’t handle it. But that’s your problem, isn’t it? So, the next time you complain about your phone service, why don’t you try using two Dixie cups with a string? We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company.” – Saturday Night Live, September 18, 1976)

Companies often differ in how they treat external and internal customers. As an acquaintance of Jodi’s once said – you date the external clients, and all of your effort goes there. Your internal customers are the ones you already married – they’re stuck with you, and you get complacent.

Sound horrible? Setting aside how pleasant it may or may not be to be married to the person making the analogy, a lot of businesses do this. It often feels like they are primed and ready to not care about issues from internal clients. Part of the problem is with company culture – there may be an issue of not setting up the organization and operations to make anyone care.

Zen of the Hand and the Chair. Every part of the chair has its own function. If someone takes a leg, all other parts of the chair will notice. Despite knowing they are all going to fall, they can do nothing to stop this. The hand, on the other hand (pun probably not intended), cares. If someone wants to cut off the pinkie finger, the entire hand will curl all of the fingers into a fist to defend against it.

So which is your organization – the hand or the chair? If someone were to talk to anyone and everyone in the organization, would they all know the key problems and the key threats to the health of the organization, but no one does anything about it? Or do you have a culture at your business where your people, if they see a problem or threat, come together to solve it?

(speaking of chairs, be on the lookout for Jodi’s Booby Trap Chair on Chairs in Predicaments: https://www.facebook.com/chairsinpredicaments/)

It is easy to see and even to rant about these problems as something those companies do, but it is critical that we uncover where we do it. Often it is a matter of falling into the trap of taking care of the squeaky wheel and ignoring your other clients.

And remember: it is one thing to avoid making people feel unimportant; it is a completely other thing to make people feel important. But that is the level at which you create loyalty and a stronger relationship. And it doesn’t cost a lot to make someone know that they matter. (Check out the book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath.)

One of the most important places to make someone feel important is in that first contact with someone who is upset. If you don’t communicate empathy, especially in moments when someone is angry and frustrated, it doesn’t matter how well you do your job – what they will remember is you not appearing to care.

Just by creating transparency, you can make people feel like you care. Helping people understand what is going on behind the scenes can alleviate frustration.

So how are you treating your internal customers? Or, for that matter, your husband/wife?

What story do you want to tell?

So we told our story – now it’s time to tell us yours!

Go to SoHeresMyStory.com

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