Do you ever stop and realize you’re so focused on the business and operations, you’ve forgotten about almost everything else? It can be easy to get so caught up in all the day-to-day running of a business that you forget to step back and look at the bigger picture. In fact, many of us need a reminder to make sure we are being intentional about looking at things inside the business with the right perspective.
Whenever we sat in a meeting at Chick-fil-A, one of the things that used to go through my mind was to think about that meeting from a customer’s perspective. I would think to myself, “if a customer was listening to the discussion that we’re having right now, would they be more inclined, or less inclined, to do business with us based on the way we’re talking?” Along the way, we decided to memorialize this idea with a visual trigger to remind us. So, in order to make sure that we were always thinking of the customer, we added a red chair to every meeting room that represented the idea that the customer was with us in that very room.
“If a customer was listening to the discussion that we’re having right now, would they be more inclined, or less inclined, to do business with us based on the way we’re talking about it?”
That red chair always made us remember the customer and to consider what they would be thinking. The red chair on many occasions served as a great balance to our conversations and thinking.
A closely related topic that helped balance our thinking and conversations and served our organization well was a deep appreciation and understanding of two types of logic: consumer logic and producer logic.
But consumer logic looks at the same issue from a very different perspective…, “That’s a lot of fries in the queue. I wonder when they get to the fries, are they going to be hot and fresh?” Consumer logic makes you stop and reexamine your choice to make sure it is really the best option for the customer. This type of thinking helps create a healthy tension and balance to ensure value for the customer and makes your service more remarkable.
Another example we can all relate to comes from the airline industry. Many airlines (pre-COVID) charged fees for any changes to your flight. This was a producer logic way of thinking. At $200 per change, those fees were great for the airline and their bottom line! This sounds great from their perspective!! But what would customers think if they were in the meeting room when that conversation was happening? Would they walk away thinking that the airline had their best interests in mind? Were they putting the customer first? Would this result in their customers becoming fans of their brand?
And yet in that same industry we find a participant who has a very different perspective on the same issue. They use the lens of consumer logic and come to a very different conclusion. Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge you to change your flight or check your luggage. They could make money by charging those fees, but are more focused on adding value for customers.
Instead of seeing this as a profit issue, they think having customers truly feel important and looked after is a great way to strengthen their brand. They believe customer loyalty is the best path to profitability. This is the kind of thinking that has contributed to them becoming the most consistently profitable airline in the business!! Isn’t it interesting that focusing on making their experience more profitable for their customers results in making them more profitable.
Many people would be embarrassed if their customers heard what they were saying behind closed doors, so, it’s important to remember that we need a counterbalance to our natural producer mindset. It’s important to try to see things the way the customer sees them. Otherwise, your customer will suffer (as will your business).
Maybe for you, it’s not a red chair. But what is it that you need to add to your meetings, your dialogues, or even your digital spaces to serve as that reminder to operate as though your customer is in the room? How do we ensure we balance our natural tendency to see things through a producer logic lens? I’d love to hear your ideas!
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Together, we can Spark a Revolution of brands more defined by meaning than money, brands that achieve success in a manner that redefines it.
Founder, Spark A Revolution