Seeing Our Customers Through Mom Eyes
Welcome back to another faith episode. Today we’re going to talk about how to see our customers through “mom eyes.”
Here are some of the key takeaways from this episode:
- To effectively serve others, we must see them through a parent’s eyes, or what I like to call “mom eyes.”
- We should treat our customers the way we would treat our moms: with kindness and respect.
Looking Through Mom Eyes
In our home, everybody knows that my wife, Crystal, is really good at finding things. In fact, we know that if we can’t find something, all we have to do is ask her and she will be able to find it. If we tell her we can’t find something, my wife will often tell us to go back and look through “mom eyes.”
Essentially, she’s telling us to go back and look with a different perspective. She wants us to look at the situation as she would look at it. When we do this, we’re much more thorough and we often find what we were looking for.
The same thing applies with doing a job in our home. If somebody hasn’t been as thorough in cleaning their room, my wife might tell them to go back and look at it with “mom eyes.” The person knows that means they have to ask themselves, is everything really picked up? Is it really clean? Did I really vacuum the floor? Did I take care of the details in the way that mom would see those details? When the person goes back and looks at it with that different perspective, they end up cleaning the room much more thoroughly.
The concept that I want to talk about and apply to our businesses is that we should look through mom eyes or look through parents’ eyes when we interact with our customers. We want to make sure we thoroughly work to solve their problems and answer their questions.
Connecting With Our Customers
There was a renowned heart surgeon named Dale G. Renlund who is now a church leader. He gave a talk called Through God’s Eyes in which he told a story of a certain patient.
In his past profession, Renlund was a cardiologist specializing in heart failure and transplantation. Over his career, he saw many people pass away so he felt he had to develop an emotional distance when things went poorly. This way, he could continue on with his work without feelings of hopelessness and sadness.
In 1986, a young man named Chad developed heart failure and received a heart transplant. He did very well for over a decade, but the last few years of his life were challenging. One evening Chad was brought to the hospital in full cardiac arrest.
Renlund and his associates worked for a long time to restore his circulation but unfortunately, Chad could not be revived. Although sad, Renlund kept himself emotionally distanced. However, this emotional disconnect shattered when he saw Chad’s parents.
In that moment, he saw Chad through his mother’s and father’s eyes. He said, “I saw the great hopes and expectations they had had for him, the desire they had had that he would live just a little bit longer and a little bit better.” Renlund wept and the kind parents ended up comforting him.
Through this experience, Renlund realized that, “To effectively serve others, we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. . . . We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes.”
Seeing through a mother and a father’s eyes, parents’ eyes, helped him see the situation from a totally different perspective. Instead of being emotionally distant, he cared a lot more about that patient.
The same thing is very true in customer service. It’s very easy to be emotionally detached. In fact, so many companies make it so hard to even contact a real person. They want you to go through their help questions on their website and chat rooms with AI. They want you to do all of the things that don’t require the cost of a customer service representative. When they become emotionally distant from the situation, they remove the ability to emotionally connect with the customer. I think that’s wrong; I think it’s dehumanizing the customer service process.
There have been times where I’ve dealt with customer service representatives that have treated me badly. I wanted to reach out to them and say, “If your mom was in the same situation that I’m in, how would you treat her?”
For many of us, we would never be emotionally distant and calloused with our mom; we would treat our mom with kindness and respect. We would care about what she was going through and we would do everything in our power to help her. We would even likely go above and beyond and treat her even more fairly than we had to. We should treat our customers the same way we would treat our moms.
The mom of one of our team members had an experience in which a company treated her with such kindness that it made her want to share it with everyone she knew. She had just purchased a Patagonia jacket for her young daughter, but the zipper broke within the first year. So, she called Patagonia to see what they could do and they were able to send her a completely new jacket. Not only that, but since her daughter had grown by the time they bought the old jacket, Patagonia agreed to send a larger size.
On the same phone call, the mother asked about a tear she had in her own Patagonia jacket she had bought five years previously. They told her that she could send the jacket to them and they could fix it for free and send it back to her. The key is that she was so pleased with the customer service from Patagonia that she wanted to share it. She shared it with her family members and friends. It’s now being shared on this show.
The great customer service inspired her to be more loyal to Patagonia and buy from them again. In fact, she told her daughter, “It is so, so worth it to spend the little extra money to be treated so well by a company.”
Not only does Patagonia build strong brand loyalty when they treat customers so well, but by surprising and wowing their customers, they create moments that people want to share. This becomes great word of mouth marketing.
Vince Lombardi said, “It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.”
How to See Through Mom Eyes
How do we do it? How do we treat our customers or look at our customers through mom eyes? I think one of the first ways to do this is to stop establishing goals, compensation, and bonuses based on reducing the amount of time that we spend on the phone with the customers. When we set up our goals that way, we are almost ensuring our failure. We’re ensuring that our employees will act in a way that reduces the time on the calls with the customers instead of trying to answer their questions to the best of their ability.
Instead, we should figure out goals and incentives that motivate our customer service agents to provide the best customer service possible. These goals should compensate our employees based upon delighting our customers.
One way to do this is to build company lore around amazing customer service experiences. Nordstrom is one of the companies that’s famous for doing this. They have even received exchanges from customers and given refunds for products that weren’t bought from them. They had employees that kept their customer’s car warm when it was cold while the customer went in and purchased a product.
We should train our employees to go above and beyond to provide amazing, unexpected, surprising customer service. Doing this and rewarding the employees that do that is one of the most important things that management can do to help ensure our customer services teams see the customers through mom eyes.
We should treat our teams and customers with amazing service. We should wow them and surprise them with how well we treat them.