It’s that time of year again when many of us sit down and write a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  All full of good intention.  I’m sure we share many the of the same; eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, save more, drink less…  Some of us will achieve some of them, many of us won’t.

I used to be quite anti-resolutions as I felt that you can make a difference to your life at any time of year.  But, if New Year’s is what it takes for someone to make a positive change then I’m all for that.  As part of your professional development you may write a list of ‘Personal Objectives’.  They are, essentially, resolutions as their intention is the same – to improve.

So, why is it that someone can list out specific and achievable goals but not follow through on them?  It’s something increasingly referred to as ‘oughtism’.  We already know what we ought to be doing but we don’t.  For many different reasons.  At Mingle we frequently meet with organisations who want to spend more time directly with their customers, consumers and patients.  They know they ought to because they will improve.  But they don’t.  For many different reasons. 

Here are a few tips on how to move from thinking you ought to spend more time connecting with customers to actually doing it:

  1. Start small.  Meet one customer, consumer or patient.  Just one.  Digest what you experienced.  Apply what you learned.  It doesn’t have to start with an organisation-wide customer closeness initiative (but should end there).  If you do just one you’ll understand how powerful a learning experience it can be, how easy it is and that you and your colleagues ought to do more
  2. Shout about it.  Interesting people are interesting because they are different.  Be different.  Be interesting.  Talk about how you got out of the office to meet with a customer and how much you learned from it.  Refer to your meeting at every opportunity.  Demonstrate that you are customer-centric.  Pique colleague’s interest (they’ll want to do the same).  The more you weave your connections into your professional narrative, the more you and others will do them
  3. Capture your top 3 observations.  Meeting with customers to listen to them is always to be encouraged and you will get value from doing so.  However, take a moment to write down the top 3 things that struck you.  These observations can be anything from something they said or something you saw.  They just need to have struck you as interesting.  At Mingle we get teams of people to download and theme their observations and doing it on a larger scale becomes even more powerful and value adding to the business
  4. Ask for support.  A frequent occurrence at Mingle is being asked by businesses to help them with their existing customer connection program or to get one off the ground.  It’s obvious to us why we’ve been asked as we are working with people who are extremely busy and underestimate the time involved in organising recruitment and dates and everything associated with doing customer connection well.  Just ask for help.

So, with the New Year take the opportunity to get up, get out and connect. Make the step from customer connection being something you OUGHT to do to being something you DO DO! It’ll be far better for you than simply going to the gym more!

Happy new year!

Get out and Mingle – be better connected.

Image courtesy of Crazy Nana on Unsplash.