If you really walked a mile in their shoes…


…have you really walked a mile in their shoes?


We give lip service to wanting to serve our customers better, but I see so many examples where people clearly didn’t bother to even consider their customer, that I wonder.

I’m betting we could walk into any business today and point to things that make life better or more enjoyable for the employees but make the customer feel less important or considered.

Here’s what it might look like if you genuinely walked a mile in your customer’s shoes if you owned/worked at…

A take out food establishment: I’d put all the cold food in one bag and all the hot items in another.

A oil change shop: I’d have more than just car magazines in the lobby.

A CPA/business banker: I’d take the forms I make you fill out every year and put them into excel so you could easily update them rather than re-writing pages and pages of numbers.

A pest control company: I’d show up at your house in an unmarked van so all your neighbors wouldn’t know you had a bug problem.

A movie theatre: I’d have a “in your seat 5 minutes before the show” rule like they do in live theatres.

A lawyer: I’d provide you with a cheat sheet of all the important legal documents you need, have and where they’re stored.

Your financial planner: I’d give you a template that captured all of your financial data (investments, bank accounts, credit cards etc.) to put with your will in case something happened to you.

A clothing store: I’d have a room you could enter and have a store employee take a picture of you (with your phone) so you could get other opinions on the potential new outfit.

Did you notice that none of these changes are a big or expensive deal?

If I can do this with 8 types of businesses — I’m pretty sure we could do it with yours too.  Your turn — tell us your organization’s core business and what you’d do differently if you truly walked a mile in your customer’s shoes.


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11 comments on “If you really walked a mile in their shoes…

  1. Sherry Borzo says:

    Wow Drew. Those are all great ideas. I bet it is kind of hard for business owners to even think from the customer perspective in this way. I think my business is already all about service but what could I do to make the experience easier and more memorable? I’m thinking!!!

    1. Sherry,

      Let us know what you come up with!


  2. This is such a great article. It shows how 1) the little things make all the difference 2) businesses can make a big difference with a little change – IF they know what change to make 3) companies are so clueless about these kinds of things, which would make such a big difference to customers. Well done!

    1. Thanks Kristin —

      I think you are right — little things make a big difference. It’s all that devil’s in the details sort of thing. That’s one of the reasons Disney has such a powerful brand. They get the little things right.


  3. Hi Drew,

    Literally visualizing yourself in your customer’s shoes is an effective practice to walk the mile.

    Or you could take your customer experiences throughout the day, sum them up, and compare to your business.

    If I see poor customer service I tend to flip the tables and see if I’m not effectively serving others. It can sting to see where you’re coming up short but it helps you connect with more customers, and keep them.

    Look at your blog, website or store front as objectively as possible. See yourself as a first time visitor. How easy is it to find what you want? Asking a series of questions and waiting for honest answers is the best way to spend a mile in a customer’s shoes.

    Thanks for sharing the creative ideas Drew.


    1. Ryan,

      No arguments from me on that. Another way to get that perspective is to ask. And ask again. Listen and respond. Once customers see that you’re actually hearing them….they will help you make your business a better experience. They enjoy the perks of that but so do all the new customers you attract!


  4. Al Pittampalli says:

    This is a great perspective Drew. It’s true, we think we see the world like our customers, but we don’t. We have to really step inside their shoes…and go so far as to test our own experience if we really want to find out.

    1. Al,

      That’s why it is always good to get some outside perspective. We simply cannot really see it from their point of view. But we can keep asking ourselves…what delights my customers and can I do more of it. And, what am I doing (or not doing) that bugs my customers? Not enough to go away perhaps but enough to keep them stuck on satisfied as opposed to thrilled.

      We can see and make those adjustments.


  5. Stuart says:

    Good read, and something I do try to put effort into, after all we all want to be informed regarding products, have realtistic reviews, and offers clients the very best, whilst filtering the offers that could be harmful to our exisitng client base, but it is good that we are reminded every now and again, just incase we forget though!

  6. Julie Gorham says:

    It’s so true, and funny. We look around to see what others are doing, and follow their lead, we forget to stop and put ourselves the customer’s shoes. Sometimes a person just gets too close to the subject, and needs someone another’s perspective (enter the suggestion box?).

    other idea for the dressing room…a double set of mirrors so you can see what the backside looks like!

    1. Julie,

      Ohh, that’s a good one. Then everyone can answer their own question “does my butt look big in these pants!”


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