Changing What Your Customers Think of You

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Changing What Your Customers Think of You

Recently, the CEO of an IT company approached one of his disgruntled customers with a simple message: “I know you’re unhappy with our customer service over the past few months. I imagine you’ve developed some rather negative beliefs about us and I’m here to find out exactly what those beliefs are, so we can change them.” After the surprised customer delivered a detailed description of her beliefs and the experiences that had created them, the CEO surprised her again by saying, “These are not beliefs we want you to hold, so we’re going to create a whole new set of experiences for you—experiences that will lead to brand new beliefs about us.”

For the next several minutes the CEO discussed the new experiences that he and his organization were going to create in a determined effort to change the customer’s beliefs. For example, they would acknowledge the customer’s request for service within 20 minutes; they would listen intently and then repeat back to the customer (using the customer’s words) the issue to be addressed; they would eliminate phrases, such as, “Are you sure?”, “…we’re so busy…”, “No problem…”, “I’ll get back to you as soon as I can…”; and they would meet or beat the estimated time of completion for projects. All technicians and engineers were trained in the company’s “Customer First” culture. What ensued in the weeks that followed was a very successful turnaround in the customer’s beliefs.

Is there a shift in beliefs that you need to make with one or more of your customers? If yes, begin by identifying the result you’d like to achieve with your customer. Do you want this customer to tell all of his colleagues and network that you’re the IT company of choice? Do you want this customer to buy additional products or services from you? Write it down.   Step Two: identify the current beliefs held by your customer that could prevent you from achieving your desired result and the experiences that led to those beliefs. This step may require one or more in-depth discussions with your customer. Step Three: answer this question, “What are the beliefs I want my customer to hold?” Write it down. Next, identify the new experiences you will need to create for your customer in order to shift his or her beliefs. Finally, implement the new experiences and install some “check points” to check-in with your client about your company’s progress.

The beliefs your customers hold shape the purchasing decisions they make, and those beliefs won’t change unless you deal with them directly. To learn more about how to change the beliefs of people inside and outside the organization, we invite you to talk with us further. We know you understand the theories behind excellent customer service. What we do best is teach the “how to” steps to get there.

About the Author:

Ellen Dunnigan founded Accent On Business in 2001 specializing in public speaking, communication skills, and executive presence for leaders in business. She has 25 years of experience with professional and nonprofessional speakers in healthcare, media, politics, engineering, sports, and other industries. Ellen’s coaching in speaking skills gives established and emerging leaders greater confidence and credibility. Her leadership programs in accountability, alignment, difficult conversations, and organizational communication have helped leaders expand their influence. Ellen is known for her practical “how to” style.

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