Seeing things from a customer's perspective

This is an update from a post that's now two years old, but I like to revisit important concepts from time to time. In this case, the point is to try and see things from a customer's perspective.

The picture below is from the ice cream cooler in a hotel gift shop. Look at the third flavor down. It either means "assorted" or it is the worst flavor possible.

The store sees one thing while some customers might see something else. It's natural to be a bit myopic when it comes to self-examination, but the sign is a great reminder that we should try to see things from our customer's perspective whenever possible.

Here are a few other examples where a customer's perspective could help:

  • Service providers who apologize for a delay or problem by sharing their excuse rather than telling me what they're going to do to fix it.
  • Cashiers who hand me my change with the coins on top of the bills, especially in the drive-through line. You have to be careful to catch the coins before they go flying!
  • Valet parking attendants who leave my seat all the way back and my radio blasting on a station I don't listen to.

What are your examples of situations that could benefit from a customer's perspective?