Currently customers are increasingly independent of companies! When a customer comes into contact with the people who represent the company, it becomes essential that they take care of them, who take care of the customer experience in detail.
All this translates into the method: “make mom proud”. Would You Do That to Your Mother? it reveals to us why a company should remove unpleasant moments from customers’ lives such as waiting, complexity, uncertainty, anxiety, concern and fear, and tells us how to do it.
A business lesson with mom
They share everything freely, support us, there are always, for better or for worse, they always have our best interest in mind, they are courageous: this is how we describe our mothers. In the same way we can describe the companies that follow their example in the way they have decided to grow their business.
Our mothers taught us to share, to trust others, to be kind and to treat others as we would like to be treated. These lessons remain the best advice we have ever been given. The companies that “make mom proud” grow by embodying these lessons, their actions place the human being as the final point of every decision, establish a balanced relationship with customers and partners and empower employees to act on the job as they would have acted at home.
Such behavior is not learned suddenly, it takes one action and then another and yet another to give people examples to imitate.
This book offers you a simple way to help you solicit these actions, a lens to guide your company’s decisions: think of your customers as if they were your mom, think about what you do, and how you do it, from your mother’s perspective . It is not all here of course, leaders must build an environment where asking these kinds of questions is celebrated and rewarded.
This perspective will bring great benefits to every part of the organization: for the people in the front line, the “mother’s lens” will provide help to recalibrate the answers to be given to customers on a personal level; within the organization and in teams will solicit collaboration to improve experiences; for leaders, it will be a litmus test to determine the actions the company decides to take or not.
In life we remember the companies and people who honored us as friends, as partners, as customers. Bilateral trust, open and honest communication and fearless sharing are the cornerstones of relationships that mean most to us.
As we are becoming increasingly self-reliant in almost every part of our customer lives, it has become even more urgent that when someone comes in contact with the humans of our company, this contact is meaningful.
The authenticity of these connections – people’s ability to truly help – is more important today than ever. Focusing on human interaction in an increasingly self-service world will set you apart.
Bring the values transmitted by the mother to the company
The companies “make mom proud” seek people whose education and values are aligned with those supported by the company. Subsequently, they empower these people to bring the best version of themselves to work.
Selecting who will or will not be part of the company is the most important but equally fundamental thing is to help these people thrive. As a result you will have happy people because their work will be given the right value and because they will have a purpose that will transcend the individual elements of their action: to improve the lives of customers.
Companies that adopt this approach act deliberately in order to:
- honor the dignity of customers’ lives;
- nurture, develop and trust employees;
- allow employees to extend grace, joy and positive memories;
- reward and develop congruence between the heart and habits.
You must think of your mother as if she were to interact with the human beings of your company. Would you feel cared for? Would his needs be understood? Would you be honored as a valued customer? Would it be helped without prejudice? Would one meet his emotional needs? Would the people who serve you be happy? Is the culture of caring consistent in your organization?
An example of a company that has adopted this model is the Vail Resort in Colorado, the largest ski resort operator in the world. Their goal is to build a culture of joy.
Here the employees do not have fixed rules to respect, a standardized script to follow but they are free to adopt any strategy and take motivated actions in order to offer the customer the “experience of a lifetime”. Answers such as “Our policy is …”, “This is not my job”, “I don’t know”, “After” have been abolished from their vocabulary.
Use “soap” actions to remove unpleasant moments in customers’ lives
Companies “make mom proud” are constant in removing unpleasant moments from customers’ lives such as waiting, complexity, uncertainty, anxiety, worry and fear. They transform these moments of struggle into moments of respect and attention.
Soap actions make customers’ lives harder than they should be. It’s the kind of thing you know that would have made your mom’s life more difficult.
The things you encountered in your customer life that:
- they made you waste time;
- they frustrated you emotionally;
- they caused you brain cramps because they are too complicated;
- they led you to close the service because you had to do the job yourself.
The “soap” actions interrupt the relationship with the customer and if there are too many customers they get angry and the employees go crazy because when a customer enters arm wrestling mode, on the other side there are the front line employees. On the contrary, if these moments are eliminated, relationships take the place of transactions, and the result is growth.
Each sector has its own version of the “soap” moments. The companies “make mom proud” are happy to find and eliminate them. To put it simply, what you offer is pain or pleasure? It’s easy for your customers to do business with you, is it a joy? Or is it perceived as a challenge? The questions you need to ask yourself are: Did you honor the client’s time? Did you inadvertently let the client do the job alone? Are you open and proactive in communication?
Chewy.com (a company that caters for 51% of the online pet food market, whose sales went from $ 26 million in 2012 to $ 2 billion in 2017) has offered animal “parents” a 24-hour assistance service 365 days a year.
Asking for help is simple, the answers are given in seconds by competent and involved staff (trained by pet owners), knowledgeable about each product and able to answer any complex question about food or animal care.
There are no time limits for conversations, you never get bounced from one operator to another.
Change the starting point and put others before yourself
The companies “make mom proud” show through their actions that they have the best customer interest in mind. The priorities become those of the customers.
They operate at a high level, guided by the belief that achieving their business goals means assisting customers to reach their own.
Adopting this approach means opening up a new planning order and new decision-making processes to all that demonstrate to customers and employees:
- clarity on how to support customers’ lives;
- the delivery of an intuitive and empathic experience;
- an innovation driven by customers’ habits and needs;
- the courageous redesign of what has always been done.
To do this, it is necessary to change the starting point of one’s actions, to move from what the company needs to what customers and partners want.
Clarity of purpose is the glue needed to guide decisions towards a common corporate goal. When companies design gracefully they get a seismic shift. Knowing the moments of customers’ lives and their inflection points is the key to gaining supporters. Human-centered design is a necessary skill for a company that wants to achieve customer-oriented growth.
The questions you need to ask yourself are: Are you earning the right to growth by improving customers’ lives? Throughout your company, are you committed to redesigning what has always been done, based on the principle that to achieve your goals you need to help others achieve theirs?
Mayfair Diagnostics, a Canadian clinic, for example, has spent more than a year studying the emotions of patients entering a clinic. They have redesigned the welcome experience trying to provide warmth and empathy, the human beings who cross their threshold are looked into the eyes and guided with care and attention, they are never “tried”.
The newly designed clinic achieved profitability in record time.
IKEA is an example of a company that lives up to its purpose and promise. The intent of the company is to create a better daily life for the greatest number of people, to give everyone the opportunity to build a welcoming home at an affordable price.
How to flip traditional business practices
Companies “make mom proud” turn traditional unilateral business practices upside down to achieve growth that is driven by goodness. They choose to move away from actions that create unbalanced relationships between company and customer. They take the less busy road to build relationships based on honor with customers, partners and employees.
These companies have the courage to reverse the business trends that have defined their sectors. They establish relationships in which both customers and the company are better because each is in the life of the other. They consider the customer an asset, applaud responsibility, practice mutual trust, set themselves the goal of making customers prosper.
The uphill road is often not the easiest choice. These companies take deliberate action to:
- build balanced relationships;
- act with honor and respect;
- practice a “radical transparency”;
- earn a growth driven by goodness.
The leaders of these companies give their people the opportunity to consider and treat customers as the foundation of their growth. They are relentless in eliminating traditional practices of the type “it has always been done this way” and in redefining the characteristics of “good behavior” in their specific sector. They challenge the status quo.
The questions you need to ask yourself are: Does your company have a similar path towards growth? Are you choosing to build balanced relationships where both sides win? Are the actions you take gaining a market position that reflects who you are and what you value in people?
Virgin hotels, for example – named # 1 hotels in the United States by the Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Awards – have decided that they would not participate in the traditional hotel practice of raising prices for the minibar. In Virgin hotels you will feel relaxed in opening your can or your packet of crisps because you will pay them exactly as you would pay them at the corner market.
Another example of a “make mom proud” company is the Columbus Metropolitan Library, which has eliminated taxes on delays in returning books on loan to stay true to its mission: to help people learn and young minds to grow.