How to Talk With Your Customers Differently

Almost a year ago, I wrote about how Best Buy handled a situation that could have snowballed in much more than an embarrassment - it could have become a PR nightmare.

Yes, customers today have a wider reach than they ever had. The experience they have of your company or store will have repercussions. The best way to make sure that experience is positive, is to have a culture that rewards and encourages those who provide one for your customers.

Best Buy got it when it started to focus more on employee engagement. Brad Anderson,  the company CEO said as much in an interview with Fast Company Jena McGregor a couple of years ago. Asked why focus on (employee) development, he replied:

I've found that times of great turmoil and change are actually the places where opportunity is created for people who might not otherwise be able to see it. I just have this overall theory that there's a lot of folks who have an enormous contribution to make who either don't know how or can't find a way to get into the right place to be able to make the contribution. Change helps from an organizational standpoint. It helps you reevaluate what you're doing so that normal organizational lethargy doesn't stop people from making that contribution. I'm a real zealot about that.

He nailed it when he said that what we’re often missing are the things that connect us to other individuals. Talking with your customers differently begins with talking with your employees differently, giving them the encouragement and support they need to reinvent their job every day - as every day there is a shift in how people buy and behave.

Nordstrom did it with a very uncomplicated handbook that spelled out the company’s number one goal "to provide outstanding customer service." To do that, the company put in place and communicated one rule "use good judgement on all situations." The behavior this encourages is very much situational - it depends on context.

Best Buy’s Anderson calls it a "cultural edge that regenerates." I call it sustained listening. What would you call it?

Valeria Maltoni | Conversation Agent
www.conversationagent.com
http://Twitter.com/ConversationAge

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