When it comes to customer success, people and blog posts talk about quick response times, following up, and being personal a lot of the time.
There’s one thing though that I’ve been thinking about, which seems to be less obvious and not talked about much at all – it’s the importance of knowing yourself to deliver better customer service.
At first glance this might seem a bit off-topic or unrelated. Stick around though, it’s relevant.
Why knowing yourself matters
If you don’t know yourself you can’t optimise your interactions with customers and people in general. You don’t know how you work best, and so it’s hard to make improvements to your workflow. You don’t know how you best relate to people and what interactions work well for you, so you struggle to create lasting connections. How are you supposed to serve people better if you can’t serve your own needs in the first place? You need to make sure you’re working at your best to be able to deliver your best work.
Assume you’re feeling tired for example. Apart from getting enough sleep of course and covering up your slump with too much caffeine (which will only backfire), what else can you do to still make the most of your day? This is hard to figure out if you don’t know yourself and what works for you. For some of us, the right music might motivate and inspire us, or a chat with our co-workers can energise us. For others it might be working quietly by ourselves, or focusing on a specific item on our to do list over another one for the day.
You should understand how you work best and know your needs.
This is especially important when it comes to customer support as you’re constantly dealing with people and your energy will directly show and affect others.
How to get to know yourself
There are a number of ways to better get to know yourself, below are some ideas to get you thinking.
1. Take a personality test – this one’s probably the most controversial one. Most people I know shy away from them, for understandable reasons. I get the aversion people have towards them, still a good personality test can give you a basic idea of your needs, strengths, and some insights into how you work best. It can also help you understand others, and therefore relate to them better
2. Try out different things and stay open-minded – Maybe you work really well in a team and are the most efficient when collaborating. Give it a go and see how teamwork makes you feel. Spend another day working from home, and another one out of a coffee shop.
In regards to customer success, try calling your customers, do a demo, communicate via chat, send long emails, reply with a short and sweet message, …
You can apply this to anything – just give things a go and be open to whatever comes out of it. See everything as an experiment. You need to test different options in order to measure and figure out what delivers the best results.
3. Listen – Learn to pay attention to your mind and body. Your mind and body are closely connected and usually tell you what’s going on.
That headache might just be a headache, sure – but it might also tell you something about what’s going on in your life right now. Don’t just dismiss feelings and moods as insignificant. I strongly believe that your body is worth listening to and can influence your mind, and the other way around.
All of this comes back to one main (and the most important) concept – awareness! Being aware is connected to all of the above points. I left this till the end just to stress its importance.
Becoming aware of yourself and your surroundings is probably one of the most rewarding and vital things you can ever do in life. If you don’t develop awareness you won’t be able to pick up on little details, learn to care for yourself properly, understand and relate to others, and build connections. It’s all about listening and observing your mind and thoughts, as well as observing external happenings. It’s related to showing empathy, compassion and understanding – for yourself and others.
As cheesy as it may sound, it’s definitely made a huge difference for me. Every time I remind myself to stay aware I can tell the impact it has on every single aspect of my life, including how I perform at work and my overall wellbeing.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this topic – have you ever considered knowing yourself and paying attention to your surroundings and others to have an impact on your level of customer support?