Your clients’ or customers’ viewpoint is key. Over the past six weeks Dee and I have stayed in more than twenty campgrounds as I completed a cross-country bike trip from North Dakota to Bar Harbor, Maine, raising funds for three foundations. It was amazing to us the range we saw in terms of quality and cleanliness. It led us to wonder if the owners and managers of these campgrounds had ever looked at their facilities through the eyes of a camper. In several of the shower rooms there was a scarcity of hooks on which to hang clothing or towels, and in some no place within the shower area to put one’s soap and shampoo. In some cases one would not want to step on the floor with bare feet — we carry a bathmat with us — and often the entire bath house looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks..
It’s unlikely that you run a campground, so you may be wondering where this is going. The point, if it’s not obvious, is that it’s important to consider the needs of the people our organizations serve. Do we pay attention to how our clients and customers use our services and how satisfied they are with them? Do we ask them how we could improve things? Do we examine our offerings from a viewpoint other than our own? Do we even imagine using our own products or services and how happy we would be with them?
Here are three things I suggest you do soon:
1) If your organization has a physical space, walk in pretending you’re a potential user of your products or services. Ask yourself how welcoming the entire environment is and whether your offerings are presented in the best way possible.
2) Examine everything you have in print or on a website. How easy is it to understand and how accessible is it?
3) Regularly talk with and survey your clients or customers to learn how things are working for them and how you might improve what you do.
Quite often we forget that our organizations don’t exist for us. They exist for those we serve. Try to see things from their viewpoint.