Recently I watched a movie called ‘A Good Year‘ starring Russell Crowe and Albert Finney. It is filmed in southern France and in one scene, Russell Crowe helps out a love interest by becoming a waiter for the evening at her busy restaurant. As she quickly orients him to his new role, she says ‘Remember …. in France the customer is always wrong’. I thought this was hilarious but then began to realize how frequently I saw evidence of this mindset in my day job.
Although it is not as blatant, if you scratch the surface at your organization you may find your own version of the ‘customer is wrong’ mentality.
For example, I often hear “Our sales reps do not understand our compensation processes, statements … <fill in the blank> “.
Sales reps are paid to sell and service customers and are not known for reading technical manuals and instruction booklets – that is why they are good sales people. So, if a process or statement is so difficult to understand that it requires specialized training then it hasn’t been designed correctly. Period. This is the same phenomena that has made Apple computer so successful. While PC guy designs complex, hierarchical menu structures that any computer science major would see as perfectly logical, Mac guy comes at it from the customer’s perspective and delivers innovative products that are adored by their loyal, evangelical customers.
Take a look around your organization for places where your customers are “wrong” and redesign it from their perspective.