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Leadership Tips: Stop "Customer Facing"

Fierce Ideas (orange lightbulb)

One of the phrases we dislike at Fierce is “customer facing.” The whole notion that you need a different face when you are talking with the customer just doesn’t work for us. While some may argue that it is just an expression, we know that words matter. And having a different face doesn’t work in business anymore.

Being in marketing most of my career, most marketing leaders know that keeping the customer front and center is key to success, whether it is a product launch or incentive plan or key event.

I have always loved that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, intentionally leaves an empty chair at meeting conference tables and lets everyone know that it is occupied by “the most important person in the room” - the customer.  And in turn, everyone is forced to remember that the customer perspective needs to be remembered and considered, even if it isn’t verbal at that very moment.

And I want to take it a step further. Remembering the customer’s perspective is not enough. Firstly, metrics need to tie to customer satisfaction. And secondly, you must learn to connect more deeply with your customers. Yes. And this is hard. You must ask the real questions and handle the real answers. Go to the real places the conversations need to go. Share the hard thoughts that come to mind.

This week’s tip is to focus on really connecting with your customer, whoever that may be. To do that, focus on being authentic. Wear your real face. Some questions that can help are: Am I using my real voice? Do I feel like myself? Am I sharing what I truly think and feel in a way that enriches the relationship?

Gone is the day that you can hide behind a mask, or a counter, or even a phone. People want to see your real face – not the “customer” one.

When have you, as a customer, felt deeply connected to the person selling you something? Why did it feel that way?  It most likely occurred because the conversation was real and authentic.

Please share an example!


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