If you haven’t heard his name, you have probably been living under the proverbial rock. He is a writer, an entrepreneur, a blogger, a teacher, and a public speaker. You may remember him as ‘the ultimate entrepreneur for the information age’ (as quoted by Business Week).
Yes, I am talking about the one and only Seth Godin.
Everything that Seth talks about is innovative, brave, inspiring, thought-provoking, and breaks the mental mold in which you grew up.
Lots of praise here, right?
I bet you would agree with me when you start reading his blog. I have been a regular reader of Seth’s blog and whenever I skip reading his daily post, I go back and binge read everything that I missed — it gives me a high like the one I get after gulping down an energy drink. The more I read, the more excited I become.
Recently he wrote a series of posts about people (read: users, customers, clients). So if you choose to read on from here, you will find five of my favorite blogs which under-the-breath talks about users or clients and how to care about them.
If you knew, and you could see the world through the eyes of the customer, and you really cared…What would you do?
That’s a simple test of creating excellence.
Seth Godin slays the superficial layers of excellence and asks a simple question- “What would you do if you knew what user wants?” Would you set things right when you spot problems, voluntarily? Would you outshine your previous attempts knowing that they lack empathy?
Excellence is not just about meeting your expectations. It’s about beating the global benchmarks.
Excellence is changing the product for the better even when your users like the version presented to them today.
Excellence is when you look closely not at what you are, but at what you do. And how far are you willing to go for your user’s happiness and back it up with great focus, discipline, and action. Excellence is when you become indispensable to your users.
Most customer relationships don’t stumble because something went wrong. Your best customers know that mistakes happen. It’s what happens next that can cripple the relationship.
Omit the word customer from this quote and you will still find it meaningful. Recovering from mistakes is not easy. Be it a leadership position or a personal front, we all struggle to fix what’s broken. We all wish there was a CTRL+Z to deal with the hiccups.
Seth Godin suggests an alternative. Search for possibilities to improve. Leave room for mistakes. Stop being so focused on not screwing up. Instead, understand what happened and move forward. Work hard to fix, to improve, to not repeat those mistakes.
It doesn’t do any good at all to know that you can’t please everyone but why not use that knowledge to be bolder, walk lighter and do better work for those you can please.
This is so true. You can not make everyone happy, you are not a Nutella jar. *pun intended*
Consider this as an example- If you live in a remote area, the opening of a new McDonald outlet gives you happiness. But over a period of years, you get bored going to the same place for every birthday or anniversary celebrations. You look for a change. Now, if a Pizza Hut or a Domino’s outlet opens in your area the very next day, it will become the reason for your happiness. And the cycle goes on! But think about it, did the McDonald’s guys do something to make you unhappy? Not really!
The thing is that you can’t expect every user to be happy with what you offer. Happiness is relative. If you are happy today, you would want to be more happy tomorrow.
So what should the McDonald’s guys do? The best they can do is never compromise on the quality of their service. They have to keep things exciting for their customers (new or old) so that they never feel bored coming to the same place again and again.
Every single customer is important, but put a little more focus on those who are easy to please.
If you want to understand how to persuade someone, listen to how they try to persuade you. What they’re actually doing is talking about things in the way they like to hear them.
Persuasion is the art of convincing someone with your words/actions. Not by argument, but by making them believe in the logic behind it. Think about the time you walked into a store and bought something because the salesperson talked about it. Think about how he convinced you to buy that product by building on the premise of your problems.
In the same way, if you want to persuade someone, you have to make them realize that both of you see the world the same way and face similar problems.
So talk about their problems as your own, talk about your experiences when you faced that same problem, walk in their shoes, and then tell them about the probable solutions. That way they won’t see you as someone who is just selling a solution and you’ll make more human connections. Do it especially in the cases where you anticipate resistance.
Hints are free. You’re welcome to take them and use them to do better work.
Often, the real truth is wrapped in a hint, because a direct statement is too difficult, it feels too risky. Unwrapping the hint to find the truth is a life skill.
You might ask- why hints? Why can’t people talk straight? What’s the point of this advice? Shouldn’t it move towards- STOP GIVING HINTS and say what you want to say explicitly?
Well, actually, NO! As Seth Godin says- a direct statement is too difficult. It can cause a lot of awkwardness. Worse, it might hurt someone. So, yes, subtle hints are important in a conversation.
But here’s the difficult part: all hints are different and interpreting what the other person is trying to say is difficult. Sometimes you’ll take the wrong hint and mold it as per your thoughts. The other times, you might take too long to understand what it meant. But that’s okay. You are not Robert Langdon and life is not about decoding the cryptic clues of The Da Vinci Code.
You can’t read someone’s mind but at least make efforts to understand their point of view. So ask questions. Ask for clarifications. You’ll slowly learn to decipher hints. It comes with experience. And when you finally master this life skill, take the hint and use it to do better work.