No More Typewriters

Effective Immediately!! No more typewriters are to be purchased, leased etc., etc. … We believe the typewriter is obsolete. Let’s prove it inside before we try and convince our customers.

Michael Scott (Apple President in 1980)

Computers are so common today that we forget that at one point, people used typewriters for written communication. Apple President in 1980 (yes his name was really Michael Scott) created a major push inside the organization to use the Apple II for all internal work, proving to themselves they could use the computer for real work before asking their customers to.

This type of mantra is sometimes called “Eating your own dog food”. The attitude helps you maintain a connection with your customers and creates an automatic learning process to improving your product or service.

Creating Empathy

What is really happening when you use what you sell is that you are putting yourself into the shoes of your customer. You are feeling their pain. This is a great way to cultivate empathy.

Creating empathy is fairly straightforward if you are selling products to consumers. If you are making treadmills, use them for your own workouts. If you are making potato chips, eat them. It is also pretty clear if you can use the product or service in your own business. For instance, we sell WordPress development services, so it is natural and important that our own website is built with WordPress.

There are times however when this isn’t possible. For instance, I have a customer that makes high-precision parts that they would never use in their business. For them, it is key that they have an amazing support team that is maintaining communication and connection through customer feedback. Their support manager needs to have a powerful position in the company to ensure they are not forgetting to align with their customer’s needs.

The key in all cases to create empathy is to make the customer’s experience real for us. They aren’t just some nobody that send us money. They are real people that have real needs. You can’t have empathy without knowledge of your customer’s problems. This requires open channels of communication.

As a business owner, never lose your connection with the customer no matter how big you get. Continue to reach out. Pick up the phone. Give them your phone number or email. This should spark some passion in your heart when you hear stories of something that went wrong in your company. This enthusiasm is what will spark change so that it doesn’t happen again.

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