For my final blog of 2014 I’ve decided to address, empathy, a
fundamental essence of Customer Experience, by reflecting on the year behind me
with no regrets and foreseeing the year in front of me with great optimism.  It’s rewarding every now and then to take
stock of one’s entire career and how it has evolved.  I spent four years in the US Air Force,
returned to work in the science arena, earned a degree in Chemistry and enjoyed
several years as an analytical chemist, entering marketing and working with
customers and publishing and speaking at conferences, getting into the field of
laboratory automation and robotics and selling systems, managing training and teaching
clients programming skills, becoming a training road-warrior for several years before
landing in the role of Customer Experience Manager.
That last role of Customer Experience Manager is significant
for me because it’s the profession I believe I was destined to be in and working
toward along my entire career path.  It
just took a lot of stepping stones for me to get there.  So now that I’m finally here, I want to share
my thoughts about what I believe it means to be customer centric.  The old well-worn, often misused, and mostly misinterpreted
term; “charity begins at home” I feel sums up the true meaning,
intent, and starting point of customer-centricity—charity being characterized
as a state of mind, a mentality of kindness, and benevolence.
As consumers we are on the receiving end of
customer-centricity daily and we are also on the giving end as we serve others
in both our work-life and in our private lives—the dual nature of
customer-centricity. How we act and react to every aspect of life has an obvious
effect on us and on others.  As a
Training Instructor, for example, I always felt that I learned as much from
students as they hopefully learned from me. 
When I attend a lecture or any kind of training session, I feel I learn
as much, if not more, about teaching techniques as I do from the subject matter
itself—yin and yang, if you will. 
I’m not into New Year resolutions in the traditional sense
as I feel they are more or less wishful thinking that is soon abandoned.  Having just left a full-time position with a
B2B corporate giant after 17+ years, I’m feeling excited yet cautiously
optimistic about 2015.  I’m also making a
significant transition from being a practitioner of customer experience to
becoming a provider of customer experience. 
Consequently, my one thought and personal commitment for 2015 is to
think about my intent and approach toward life by expressing more empathy on a
daily basis to build a better me from a customer-centric provider perspective.
I share a couple of simple
examples:
  1. When that traffic signal in the distance turns from green to
    yellow, I will consider slowing down and stopping rather than pressing the
    accelerator to the floor-board to gain an extra 3 seconds of time in my
    day.  I’ll also hope that someone else in
    the same situation will consider the same for the sake of my safety.
  2. I will chose to smile and with compassion inquire how the
    day is going to that cashier at Wal-Mart who may be nearing the end of a long laborious
    shift and who may have had enough of impatient and irritable shoppers.  

Emotions motivate individual behaviors which in turn can create
either a positive or negative customer experience.  Being more customer-centric from a provider
perspective, means being more empathetic toward those on the receiving end of
our individual output.  As the total customer
experience is the sum of all interactions, my aim is to slow down; think ahead;
and ensure that my individual interactions are positive and embraced with
empathy and understanding first—leaving judgment for last.

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