Customer Viewpoint

I am constantly surprised by the number of people and companies who make no effort to try and think about things from their customer’s point of view. They seem to have a myopic view. The view is “this is the way that I think about something and so it’s the way that you should too”.

This happens in the physical world (brick and mortar stores), face to face meetings, and emails but the place that I see it the most is on the web. It becomes apparent in some very visible places and also in some very subtle ways.

Quite frequently I will have a conversation with a sales person and ask “What is it that they (the customer) is trying to accomplish?” and the salesperson will have no clue. Or you are trying to have a conversation with someone about how a website is designed and they will have looked at it but that’s all. They haven’t purchased anything and so don’t understand the full experience.

The subtle nature of this came to me very early this morning. You see, over the last 2 months I have made 3 different reservations on Marriott.com that were non cancelable. I didn’t intend to do this because my travel plans change more often than not. After this last one I was racking my brain to figure out what I did. This morning it hit me… I think in Days (Monday, Tuesday…) not Dates (17th, 18th…). I say I need to be in Seattle next Tuesday. Boom easy. I use the pop up calendar, select the day and away I go. But then when you select the rate and get your confirmation it gives you the date. I know it’s next Tuesday that I want to be in Seattle but I have no idea what the date is, (heck, as I type this I don’t even know today’s date – 23rd? 24th? 25th? am I close?) so when it comes back with a date that is 24 or 48 hours earlier I don’t recognize that. Is it my fault? Absolutely. But when I get frustrated at paying the cancellation fees, who do you think I take it out on? That’s right, Marriott. So, it’s in their best interest to see things from my point of view.

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