Developing Customer Focus is a theme that has been prevalent over the past two decades. Organizations commonly talk about becoming customer-focused, customer-centric, or customer-centered. And if they’re not talking about that, they are often waving their flags in a “One Company” drive to become unified in service to their customers – which actually amounts to the same thing as customer focus in terms of what has to be done to achieve it and the net result.
More and more, professionals and consultants must conduct interviews with clients and stakeholders to inform and build alignment around important initiatives and projects. The goal is to create shared space during stakeholder interviews. However, that doesn’t always happen. For example, when interviewing others, have you ever had frustrations like:
This article continues my series on the phenomenon of throwing people under the bus. In the first article my advice was Don’t Throw People Under the Bus. There are usually better ways to stay safe and handle difficult situations. To that point, the second article addressed the topic, How to Avoid Being Thrown Under the Bus. Nevertheless, while prevention is an important element of staying safe, we all find ourselves under the bus at some point in our careers. What do you do if you find yourself there? Specifically, what do you do when your client throws you under the bus?
Whether your clients are internal or external, you work hard to understand their needs. You develop ideas and solutions to help them meet their needs. But then how do you then convince your clients that they should understand and appreciate your vision and support your proposal? Will you use constructive influence or destructive influence to convince them? (See our recent article, Influence – Constructive or Destructive, for descriptions of each.) Rather than answer this question directly I decided to have some fun with it. Here is a short tutorial on how not to influence your clients. Not to worry. These unfortunate methods point to strategies that do work.
Virtually every company and government organization develops products and/or services for its external customers. Who am I to tell you how to do it for your particular business? You know the business. You talk with your customers. That’s not an issue. So what is the issue? How do you develop customer focused products and services?