CxP Law #2: People Are Instinctively Self-Centered

Everyone has their own frame of reference, which heavily influences what they do and how they do it. Customers, for instance, care intensely about their own needs and desires but they don’t generally know or care as much about how companies are organized.

Employees also have their individual frames of reference; which often includes a deeper understanding of products, company organization, and subject matter (see: Your Customers Are Martians). If left unchecked, decisions made inside of companies will often reflect the frame of reference of employees, not customers. We sometimes call this problem self-referential design.

Here are some implications of this law:

  • You know more than your customers; deal with it. You can’t eliminate your biases, but it helps to acknowledge them. Recognize that customers may not understand things like product names, acronyms, and process steps that you regularly discuss at work. So there’s a natural bias for making experiences too complicated for customers. Get in the habit of asking yourself: “Would our target customers fully understand this?”
  • Don’t sell things, help customers buy them. Whenever you’re thinking about a customer experience, always try and frame it from the customer’s point of view. Look at all interactions as an opportunity to help customers to do something. How can you institutionalize this? Infuse the voice of the customer within your processes.
  • Don’t let company organization drive experiences. Just because you have separate organizations running your Website, retail stores, and call center does not permit you to make customers jump through hoops. Customers shouldn’t have to know (and they certainly don’t care) how you are organized. Here’s a key symptom to look for: Any front-line employee that needs to explains to a customer how your company is organized.

The bottom line: Make the shift from self-centeredness to customer-centeredness.

P.S. Here’s a link to all 6 laws of customer experience.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 Responses to CxP Law #2: People Are Instinctively Self-Centered

  1. chirax says:

    If I may another implications of this law:

    Your Internal Customers(Employees) are also part of the same ecosystem as your Customers learn from them and leverage on the diversity of experience each employee brings to the table. Do take into account an individual’s feedback and actually if possible encourage it. This will give you first look at what your Customers will think.

  2. Bruce Temkin says:

    Thanks for offering an additional implication. The 6 laws of CxP work even if your “customers” are internal customers.

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