Seeing through the Eyes of Your Customer


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Having just finished my new book about Mercedes-Benz and given that I recently spent time with Mercedes-Benz dealers at their annual conference in Las Vegas, I took the liberty of modifying a popular children’s logic puzzle by inserting a Mercedes-Benz E class.  Can you solve this puzzle in 20 seconds?  What parking lot number is under the Mercedes-Benz?

Of course the answer is: ________________

If for some reason that answer isn’t obvious, you must not have turned the puzzle upside down.  Had you done that, the correct answer becomes abundantly clear.

The puzzle, like so many of its kind, requires a simple shift of perspective.  The same type of flip that makes the number 87 pop is esential to achieve sustained success in today’s customer-driven world.  Too often we look at our businesses from our side of the counter and not through the eyes of our customer.  It is through strategies like the “Customer Walk” at Starbucks (baristas take turns during each shift to walk from the parking lot looking at the experience from the customer’s vantage point) that businesses help their people develop a core competency around seeing customer pain points and creating solutions to produce customer delight.  What are you doing to flip perspective and see your business from your customer’s point of view?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


  1. Failed the 20 second test! A simple but great lesson on the value of changing your perspective. Can be applied to so many situations.

  2. Hi Joseph

    Totally agree. The more we can see things through the senses, feelings, thoughts and actions of the customer the better we can understand them. But the principle applies in the opposite direction as well. As a recent study by Buell et al on ‘Creating Reciprocal Value Through Operational Transparency’ showed, allowing fast-food restaurant customers to see how their food was prepared both increased customer perceptions of quality by 20% and reduced the time to create the food by 20% as well.

    The customer experience is the boundary that divides how customers look to the company for help to get their jobs done and how the company works with customers to help get their jobs done as well. The more that either party understands the other, the better the resulting experience is likely to be.

    Graham Hill

    Further Reading:

    Buell et al
    ‘Creating Reciprocal Value Through Operational Transparency’


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