What do THEY want?

You and I have both had experiences where we see an employee role their eyes when their phone rings or when a customer is at the counter for assistance. “What do they want?” is what they are thinking, and sometimes even what they say aloud.

It’s easy, and perfectly natural, to get frustrated when you are answering the same questions over and over, or when your customers are generally in a bad mood. Many of us operate under very challenging conditions.

The challenge is keeping in mind that “they” are you when you visit them in their place of business, and we all want the same things.

I recently had to call a government office. The situation I found myself in was upsetting, emotional, and caused financial hardship. First, I had to call EIGHT times. I finally got through and listened to a phone tree that was almost three minutes long. After the message, I heard “Due to a large volume of callers, no one is available to take your call. Goodbye.” Click. Trying to get through to this office was making matters much worse than they were already.

I finally did get to speak with someone. Poor guy. I was my nicest, but I was really upset. He helped, and without even realizing, showed me all four of the universal customer desires I encourage people to keep in mind when working with someone in need. We actually all want the same things.

  1. To be treated with dignity and respect, like we actually matter
  2. To have some control over the situation when we feel helpless
  3. To be understood and heard, and
  4. To have the issue resolved quickly and accurately.

Being more aware of these four universal customer desires will help you shift the paradigm of feeling “interrupted” by customers during the day, and help you achieve the goal of providing outstanding service to every person, every day.

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Gabriela Dow

Great blog post — especially since you see it from the customer and providers’ point of view. After 10 years of implementing e-Government solutions, it has been so rewarding to see local governments that at first were very wary of opening up the input of requests via their websites to seeing more and more self-service even from a smart phone device.

I believe the personal touch is still so important for sensitive issues where you do need some face or phone time wih an individual, but it sure helps to not have to wait for that dedicated time if all of the other routine requests and issues are handled easily with the aid of web technology.

What do you think Wendi..? Would the issue you describe above be possible to handle via self-service — entering your info into a detailed web-form and getting an auto-email a few hours/days later letting you know it had been resolve?

Kind of skips straight down to item #4 on the list but at some trade-off?

Thanks! Gabriela