Day in and day out, we do our best.

We do our best to serve our customers and employees and colleagues well. We do our best to juggle the 9 million items on our to-do lists and maintain a sunny disposition in the face of stress, deadlines, the unknown and more.

We’re all guilty.

Anyone who serves customers on a regular basis is most likely guilty of falling into a sense of complacency or even resignation when customers are expressing negative experiences with the brand represented. It’s too easy to become jaded and lax in dealing with similar issues throughout the day, each and every day.

To shake off the sense of “been there, done that” that can creep into our interactions with customers and damage the relationships, try walking through the customers’ journey from their perspective. Not metaphorically, but as literally as you can.

You can make a difference NOW!

In just five minutes, you can look up a common question customers have and see if you could find the answer easily. Does it solve the problem? If not, is that when they might pick up the phone and call support? That can help anyone relate a little more to the path of frustration that might lead a customer to you.

Have twenty minutes to explore?

Enter in a few common customer questions to Google – not your own search engine – and see what happens. Do casual negative customer reviews show up? Are the top-ranking links from reputable sources or not? Does your brand only appear positively via paid ads? What might a customer conclude by scanning these outcomes? Perhaps those negative reviews have chipped away at the trust with the brand, even before they interact with you.

What’s the worst thing a customer service agent dealt with in the last week? Seek out the story about the angriest, most frustrated customer and why they were so emotionally charged. Share those stories and look for answers to why that customer was unhappy. Find out what helped or hurt the resolution process. If the only tool in your toolbox is offering discounts, but customers clearly want an apology, it’s time to revamp the process and look for solutions to the actual problems.

Think back…way back.

Why does a customer need what you sell anyway? Sure, they might love the product or be indifferent towards it, but for some reason they made the decision to purchase it in the first place. What was that reason?

Customers don’t ever say “I need to find a best-in-class optimized solution.” (Seriously, they NEVER say this – so why does our marketing say it??) Customers say “I need a faster, cheaper way to help my team communicate. I hate the way we are drowning in email today.” They don’t seek out your brand, they seek out THEIR problems. Connecting with the real WHY of your customers’ needs can help you respond to them in a more engaged, meaningful way.

It doesn’t always take a four-day retreat or 100-question survey to find out what’s really going on with our customers. Encourage your colleagues to tackle one of these exercises a week and see if it helps connect with customers in better ways. Sure, you may have been there, done that, but these reminders can help you feel like this next interaction is a new, meaningful way to serve people who need you.