Break the Golden Rule with Customer Dialogue Support

A customer dialogue approach to customer support differs from traditional service models in at least one critical way. The most basic difference is that a customer dialogue approach insists that businesses perform better in the market when they minimize the self-orientation of their business processes and maximize their customer-centeredness. Yet, a customer-centered business strategy requires more than being nice to customers. Many “customer care” approaches call for treating customers the way you’d like to be treated—the so-called Golden Rule. Treating customers the way we, as service providers want to be treated implies that we inherently know what’s best for them. A customer dialogue approach alternatively assumes that customers know, or can quickly learn, what’s best for them as individual customers. We need to treat customers the way their actions indicate they want, not the way we would want to be treated as a customer.

Paradoxically, even authors encouraging companies to minimize their own self-orientation end up advocating the Golden Rule of customer support, which is really more an attribute of a self-oriented approach than a customer-centered one. Peppers and Rogers, for example, in their recent book Return on Customer (2005) make the following assertion:

The secret to earning a customer’s trust is to see the situation from the customer’s perspective. You will need to treat the customer the way you yourself would want to be treated if you were the customer…everyone at your company must embrace this mission (2005, pp. 26-27).

Peppers and Rogers(2005) slip from advocating customer research to earn the customer’s trust by seeing the situation from their perspective, and manage their experience with your business, to advocating that your organization can do it by having its support staff imagine the customer’s perspective from their own experience. The two are not the same.

The Golden Rule is helpful in honing communication skills, but it is not sufficient to see the service experience from the view of the customer. The fact of the matter is, you can either do the customer research needed to understand your customers and develop ongoing efforts to manage their experience with your business, including training staff in dialogue techniques, or you can imagine you know your customers based on your own experience alone and make sure your staff at least follows the Golden Rule in designing and delivering services. It’s great if the latter approach works for your business. But, don’t confuse its success with understanding your customers.

Share this post…

add to : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

7 Responses to Break the Golden Rule with Customer Dialogue Support

  1. […] of discourse. In a couple of posts several years ago I noted the importance of looking at customer experience and product/service innovation from the point of view of dialogue.  The increasing maturity and […]

  2. Thanks for the great piece of information .This is a really interesting article. Visit this link to get insights on customer dialogue by right campaign.

    • Larry Irons says:

      Thanks Jason, this was my second blog post at Skilful Minds and laid out an approach to a Customer Dialogue Strategy that I’ve returned to many time since first thinking it through.

  3. […] to engage customers to improve products and services. One of my earliest posts on Skilful Minds, Break the Golden Rule with Customer Dialogue Support, offered the following observation, Many “customer care” approaches call for treating customers […]

  4. mark easby better brand agency says:

    You’re so interesting! I don’t believe I’ve read through something like that before. So great to discover another person with original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the internet,
    someone with some originality!

  5. digifarms says:

    whoah this blog is great i love studying your posts.
    Stay up the good work! You realize, a lot of persons are searching around for this information, you
    could aid them greatly.

Leave a Reply to Jason Fernandes Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: