When I was a university student, I landed a highly coveted internship as a liaison aide for the United Nations Law of the Sea conference that was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
When a delegate at the conference complained that he didn’t like the view from his otherwise luxurious hotel suite, I couldn’t understand “what his problem was.”
Being from Jamaica, the sea, mountains and sunset were a regular part of my life and I didn’t place the degree of importance on these things as did the delegate.
An experienced manager at the hotel explained the difference between what a customer pays for and the value that the customer expects. The manager pointed out that what may not seem to be important to a supplier, may be highly valued by the client.
My takeaway from this experience was twofold :
1. Empathy is essential in business and life…seeing the other person’s perspective and not just my own.
2. Meeting and exceeding needs create value. Value creates demand and nurtures customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is the basis on which sustainable business success is built.
Although this experience took place long before I finally decided to pursue a career in marketing, the takeaways have served as important guiding principles in the business strategies I’ve developed over the years.
Throughout the pandemic, there has been a lot of storytelling and sharing of experiences. We’re learning more about the cares and concerns of our colleagues, employees and clients.
Let’s hope that empathy will motivate the desire of business leaders to deeply understand client needs and inspire them to find new and better ways to deliver value. This approach is likely to lead the way to sustainable business success.
See the BIG picture. Focus on what’s important.
Further reading : Do you want sustainable business success? Invest in value.