Stop Treating Your Customers Like Dragons

dragonThe movie How To Train Your Dragon has been a big hit in my house of late.  In fact, we just had a dragon-themed birthday party.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it perfectly illustrates Steven Covey’s habit of seek first to understand, then to be understood.  That advice from the book 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is some of the best career advice I’ve ever received. Can I get an amen?

In the movie, this Viking community is constantly under the threat of dragon raids, fighting to protect what’s theirs.  The dragons plunder and pillage seemingly because they are evil creatures and therefore the Vikings must kill them.  The main character and atypical Viking, Hiccup, discovered mostly by accident that the dragons were just as scared of him as he was of them.  When he laid down his weapons, the dragons laid down their defenses.  He was eventually able to fly on the back of his pet dragon, Toothless.  In the end, when the Vikings and dragons worked together toward a common goal of defeating the mega dragon, they succeeded.

Do you view any of your coworkers or customers as fire-breathing dragons?  Perhaps you’ve heard through the grapevine that certain customers or colleagues are fire-breathing dragons.  This is a rich analogy isn’t it?  If you resonate with this, ask yourself these questions?

1. Have I truly taken the time to listen to that person and sought to understand their wants and needs?

2. Do I ever listen to the opinions of others about that person and then allow them to cloud my view of that person?

3. Can I see myself working toward a common goal or objective with this person?

The opportunity is right in front of us for the taking and the choice is ours.  Guess what?  In business, we need our customers in order to succeed and they need us!  The same goes for our coworkers.  What good is it if we slay those dragons?

I propose that we lay down our weapons, seek to understand, and then soar to new heights together.

Empathetic listening is always centered on the other person, and its goal is to make the other feel uniquely understood.” ~Arthur P. Ciaramicoli

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Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

One comment

  • Perspective….very important. Essential in building amazing relationships. It’s an overused expression but customers won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Great post Jeremy. xoxox

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