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A previous blog discussed Law #1: Every Action Creates A Personal Reaction.


Recently when Carlie and I were on vacation in Alaska we sat across from a younger couple who were also enjoying the whale-watching tour. They appeared stylishly dressed, newly married and were taking pictures of every whale diving in the pod. 




Whale-Up-close-AlaskaOn one dive a whale nearly hit our boat and in their excitement the young couple spoke in a language very unfamiliar to me.

I’ve thought about this incident, realizing that I had no idea what the couple had said in their excitement. Although I didn’t understand, the man and woman shared a common bond with the language they spoke. Briefly, I felt like an outsider.  This became more evident as the captain lowered a microphone into the water and we listened to the pod of whales, communicating in their own language! 

Sometimes our customers feel like outsiders, too. We forget that our company is bound together by its own language, acronyms, and understanding of products and systems. If we’re not careful, we will alienate customers because they don’t understand our language!

My story leads us to the second truth about customer relationships as created by Bruce Temkin.

Customer Experience Law #2 says:  People are Instinctively Self-Centered.

Temkin isn’t referring to self-centered from a moral position, but from a position of perspective. Your customer processes information based on his own language and life experiences.  So do you.

The most important thing to remember, according to Temkin, is for you to “make the shift from self-centeredness to customer-centeredness.”

In other words, think like the customer thinks. See the world from his perspective. Speak in a language he understands rather than industry lingo. Ask yourself:

“Would my ideal target customers fully understand what I am saying?” 

If the answer to yourself is a lukewarm “probably not,” you know you have to change your language. How? 

  1. Be aware of industry language you speak. If it’s not understandable to your audience, don’t use it.
  2. LISTEN to your customer. Then, use language similar to what your customer uses.
  3. If you do use more esoteric language, do so sparingly, and clarify what you mean. You can teach a customer something new without raising the red flag of incomprehension.

By taking these steps, you are helping the customers, and you are helping yourself, too.

Anyone dealing with customers should not just know these laws, but live by them.




Next up: Law #3:  Customer familiarity breeds alignment.



What language do your customers speak?


Topics:   Customer Experience Improvement Business Relationship Development Customer Relationship Development Customer Service Improvement

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