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KNOW Thy Customer

I love when a company has a really strong bond with their customers - a meaningful connection that you can just sense.

It just makes you feel good to see a great purposeful relationship in action - one that is based on mutual understanding and sincere reciprocal respect.

But as we all know, developing special relationships takes real work. Truly understanding each other. Being respectful of each other's ways and values. Showing that you "get" their purpose and the things that really matter to them.

Same is true with companies and their customers.

Funny, you see all the time organizations claiming and promoting that they are customer-centric or client-focused.

But, are they really?

Did these companies really do all the foundational work to truly understand their customers' beliefs, values, and frustrations? Do they work to make a real connection? Do they demonstrate how an organization can be more empathetic with their customers' day-to-day lives through knowing more about those day-to-day lives?

Do they take the time to really listen? REALLY listen?

I was reminded of this recently, when I saw an ad from The Home Depot.

To me, this spot (see below) felt really right. "Right" in that I believe that Home Depot did the challenging work of really getting to know who their customers are and what makes them tick.

I had a conversation with someone in The Home Depot marketing department and they expressed that The Home Depot marketing team, along with their ad agency, worked hard on this ad.

No doubt.

They obviously did a lot of customer listening to uncover: "What do our customers - small-business owners, professional trade craftsmen and craftswomen, entrepreneurs - truly value? What are their day-to-day lives really like?"

They obviously did a lot of in-depth listening to their customers as it shows in this insightful, introspective, engaging one minute spot.

What do these Home Depot customers value?

Hard work. Pride in doing a job well, and on time. Pride in going the extra mile for their customers, their friends, their families. Working hard on tough projects which require lots of sweat and extra hours. That's Home Depot's kind of people.

Honestly, these skilled worker customers don't usually garner lots of appreciation, attention, or recognition. But, the folks at Home Depot - with a keen understanding of these special customers' lives and their value - demonstrate the company's heartfelt respect for this group with this ad.

"And at The Home Depot, everything we do - we do for them." Love that. That is a purposeful statement and an authentically customer-centric one at that. It's the kind of position that should motivate every Home Depot worker to come to work each day.

It goes without saying that the people at Home Depot believe in these same values of hard work, customer service, and going the extra mile.

After all, to be ready to enthusiastically serve these special entrepreneurial, small business customers who may appear before daybreak, Home Depot has to be staffed and ready to go across all departments even sooner. Home Depot is 100% committed to being there to help their customer partners get yet another productive day going.

People do business with people who have the same values that they do.

Work harder to understand your customers' and your clients' values, beliefs, passions and fears. Then, be empathetic - connect with their values in an emotional and meaningful way.

Those are the bonds of true customer relationship.

Deeper, stronger, more meaningful relationships with our customers and clients - a worthy goal for all of us in the customer/client relationship business.

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