“See the world from your customers’ point of view” is a catchy and familiar phrase, but not always easy to accomplish. The world view of any other person is influenced by his or her past experiences, current concerns, future hopes and fears – not yours.

It may not be easy, but understanding what someone else perceives is essential to improving the service you provide. How else can you know what to do, change or do better if you can’t get an accurate view of how you are performing in your customer’s eyes right now? This means shifting your attention from what you are doing to caring about what someone else is experiencing.

Definition of Service: Service is taking action to create value for someone else.

This is not an easy task because many of your daily activities focus on getting things done, not figuring out what other people think and feel about the things you are doing. The attention you place on your own activity intensifies every time you try to track your progress:  Did I finish all my action items today, or only half of those accumulating on my checklists? Did I complete each of the steps in that process or procedure, or do I still have twenty more to go?

The inward focus gets even stronger when success is boiled down to numbers as it often is in organizations. Your managers want to know: How many new customers did we win this month? Did you meet or beat your target? What volume of new products did you sell? What profit or percentage did we earn? Even customer satisfaction is often distilled into numbers.

Surveys ask customers for ratings on a scale from 1 to 10 with results rolled up into reports that supposedly measure your performance in the eyes of your customers.

But if I ask your customers or colleagues to tell me about the quality of service you provide, very few will answer with statistics. People don’t naturally say, “I give your service a 7.2” or “The service I received was 66%.” People don’t talk about service this way. When we think and speak about service, we don’t use numbers as much as words like these: “Pretty good” “Not bad” “OK” “Getting better” or maybe “Getting worse”.

This creates a problem. If everyone uses their own language, your “Pretty good” could mean the same thing as my “Not bad”, and that’s confusing for everyone. We need a shared way of thinking and speaking about service so it’s easy to discover where you are and to decide where you want to be. We need a common service language.

6 replies
  1. John O'Connor
    John O'Connor says:

    Very good Ron! (no surprise either)

    I will keep an eye on what you are up to. I do wish you had a “print” button, so I did not have to copy to a word doc to print and read later. I hate reading screen stuff- not sure why, but paper is better for my brain.

  2. Ron Kaufman (Founder)
    Ron Kaufman (Founder) says:

    @John O’Connor
    Thanks for the comment, John. PRINT is available in the upper right hand corner of the page. (I also print out articles, especially when I want to study them carefully, or make my own comments in the margins.)

    Then again, online articles often LINK! to more than the article itself.

  3. Vinit
    Vinit says:

    Right to the point, excellent artice, thanks for the refresher, please keep sending us these wake up articles.

    Appreciate it.

    Thanks & regards,


  4. Natrajan Krishnan
    Natrajan Krishnan says:

    Dear Ron, You are on the Dot..
    Just add some points here, the customer is especially in a continuous service industry happy, not so happy at different times of the year, depends when are you asking him the question, yes common language for service its a must but the language must be shared with the customer here unlike the language used by programmers , insurance guys, we as a third party wonder some time what is a radio button if you are not a software guy.
    So some very common words which a very commion man (customer ) can understand…

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts


  5. sudarshan
    sudarshan says:

    Hi! Mr. Ron,

    I am very big fan of you and I am inspired by all of your articles. Would you mind sending me more articles, please!

    Thank you & keep up your great job

  6. Ron Kaufman
    Ron Kaufman says:

    Hello Sudarshan, you can sign up for our frequent UP! Your Service INSIGHTS mailing in the upper right hand corner of this page. It’s free, and always full of useful tips, articles, videos, links, etc. Thanks for your interest and commitment to Uplifting Service!

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