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What if your customer experience was a reflection of the experience you are generating?

What if your customer experience was a reflection of the experience you are generating?

Even though it was decades ago, I’ll never forget the day I went to a client’s office for a 1 hour coaching session. He was a financial consultant who was highly experienced, yet still early in his tenure with a new firm.

His client portfolio was not growing as quickly as he had projected, and he was feeling pressure from the top to make serious progress soon. He was preparing for a meeting with a new prospect where he would deliver a proposal for how to manage this prospect’s estate. He was visibly stressed as he shared his concerns and doubts about this upcoming meeting.

Once he finished, I relaxed my shoulders and took a few deep breaths. I asked him to do the same.

Then I asked him, “What experience do you want your prospect to have as you share your proposal with him?” He thought for a moment and then responded, “Trust. I want him to trust what I am proposing.”

So I asked him, “Who has to bring trust to the table?” We sat in silence for a few minutes letting that question sink in.

With a thoughtful look on his face, he said, “I have to bring trust to the table. I never thought of it like that. I just assumed it was the prospect’s responsibility to see me and my proposal as trustworthy.”

For the rest of our session we discussed what it meant for him to “generate the experience of trust” and not only bring it to his meeting as the very essence of the meeting, but to also generate trust while he was preparing the proposal.

The following week when I returned for our coaching session, his entire office was in disarray with papers everywhere. I was immediately curious as to what had transpired during the week. With a big smile on his face, he reported what it was like to generate the experience of trust while developing and delivering the proposal.

He shared how it reshaped what he was proposing as there were elements in his proposal that he himself didn’t fully trust. As the meeting approached, he felt calm and peaceful with a sense of trust that things would go well. During the meeting he felt a connection with his prospect that he hadn’t felt before and was able to express his sincere intention to do what was best for his estate.

His prospect not only agreed to become his client, he also shifted far more of his estate assets than was in the proposal. The activity from this new client allowed him to exceed his annual projections. Now, he was facing a whole new challenge, which was to manage the huge amount of paperwork this new account entailed!

I’ve been delighted to see the conversation of “customer experience” becoming more prominent in the corporate world, and yet I wonder if the underlying key to making that a reality is being addressed.

When I was a business and life coach in the 1990s, long before it became wildly popular, I consistently asked the same 2 questions, “What experience do you want your customer to have?” and then “Who has to bring that experience to the table?”

I found that the underlying intention of these 2 questions applied whether someone was an entrepreneur working with others to generate their business, or a project leader working with a team, or an executive leading an entire organization.

The bottom line is: whatever experience you want others to have, you must generate that experience within yourself, your team, or your organization first and have it be the overarching essence of everything you think, say and do.

In other words, if you want to grow sweet oranges, you need to plant orange seeds. You must plant the seeds of experience in order to see the fruit of that experience.

Debra Miller's picture
About the author

Debra R. Miller, co-founder of Values Centered Innovation, is passionate about consciously co-innovating the future... with good character and conscience!

"Innovation is a conscious, pro-active act of creating your future."