Life Lessons – Understanding Your Customer

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a blog around – Life Lessons – Are There Rules for Interacting With Customers. This has been just to write out what I had in mind and how I approached a customer in general. These are not rules written on stone, but are more of a methodology which I have made for my own self when interacting with customers. Trust me on this, over time you mature and tune this whole process while interacting with customers.

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The whole consulting business has got the better of me when having conversations. I thought let me give yet another perspective and an important trait everyone needs to harness when interacting with customers.

Information is just not enough: This is something I have heard and seen from a number of customers I interact with. People look for solutions for an immediate problem. At this moment, the knowledge to solve their pain outweighs any logical explanation we give. More often than not, few customers in desperations resort to the typical search engines to give them a solution. Though it works in the short term, it doesn’t address the root cause. I always believe combining solution with a logical explanation to right information is power – customers love this.

Hearing is not Listening:  I love to be reminded of a Greek proverb – We were given two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.

The mantra here is – if you can hear, then you can listen, isn’t it? This is similar to assuming that people can read just because they can see. I hope you get the drift – there is a fundamental difference right. To understand the customer and their issue, you need to listen to what they are saying. If you jump to conclusions about a customer’s situation, you might miss some key data that will change the scope of the engagement. For every customer before consultation, I have a scoping call or a prep call wherein I try to understand what problem I will be solving, how much time it would be taking, what scripts I am likely to run and then the actual reason to how the solution was arrived.

Listening will help in troubleshooting a customer’s issue effectively. This skill requires you to hear and understand the information that is obtained through a conversation with the customer. Don’t assume while you listen and don’t get to conclusion or solution before you have all the facts in front of you.

As I wrap this blog, I hope you understand what it takes to talk with a customer. Listen carefully and win your customers. Let me know your thoughts via comments.

Reference: Pinal Dave (

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