I just returned from Loyola Marymount University graduation. The kids (they are actually young adults but I’ll always think of them as kids) I have gotten to know from the class of 2015 are not the people I have read about. I read an article not long ago that described them as “Needy, Entitled and Self Centered.” What??
The kids I know are incredibly motivated, hard working, and passionate. They want to make a difference in the world, make positive change and give back to their communities. I am absolutely inspired by them.
Do they want feedback? Yes, absolutely. They aren’t afraid to ask for it and they’ll expect it. I think we all want feedback but many of us don’t ask often enough and when we don’t get it, we just accept it. These kids aren’t afraid and they aren’t very patient. As hiring managers, I don’t see this as a bad thing. Let’s harness that energy, passion and desire to achieve.
These kids have also grown up in a world of mobile technologies and that world is only becoming faster paced and more immediate. They will expect us to operate in that same world. They are the ‘now’ customer. As an employee they will want the same ‘now’ access to information and data.
Self centered? I don’t see it at all. They care about so many issues. They are involved and curious. The majority of them donated hundreds of hours to local non-profits and some even created non-profits.
The out-going president of LMU, David Burcham, was the commencement speaker. Some were disappointed that the University didn’t select from the local celebrity community, until he started speaking. He was a great president and the students loved him. He was accessible and a terrific role model. He talked about not being cynical in a cynical world. I am not cynical about the future and what these kids will do to change the world we live in. I believe they will be great assets and great leaders.
I’ve been thinking about the customer. Recently we worked on some roles that had a specific focus on customer experience. Customer experience means different things to different people and companies.
If you are a B2B company, your customer is a company. Right? Well, yes and no. You are providing a service or product to a company but there are many people and individuals who are buying into what you are selling. These people come from many parts of the organization. From the receptionist who takes your first call to the CFO who might ultimately sign the check. Forgetting about the receptionist and making a lousy first impression could be a deal killer.
If you are a B2C company, and you are selling anything from shoes to scissors to tablets, your customers are everywhere. Literally everywhere. You’re buying a smoothie from a college student working part time in the smoothie store. They’re a customer. The copier technician fixing your copier in the office. They’re a customer. A candidate you are interviewing. They’re a customer. Of course, there is the customer who walks into your store, that’s an obvious one.
So, what is a customer experience? I think that it is defined throughout your organization, by everyone who interacts with another human being. Is the culture you create, part of the organizational DNA and does everyone live and breathe it? It should show up in team meetings, vendor meetings, candidate meetings and in the user interface on the eCommerce website or customer portal. It should show up in the contract negotiations when you are working with a buyer or if you are a buyer, with the vendor.
We are all buyers and customers, everyday.
I am actually a little surprised that I am writing about this. But I continue to see people on LinkedIn with no headshot. Well, I don’t ‘see’ them, I ‘see’ a little gray shadow figure, pretend headshot. Is this a real person? Of course it is but why are people still resisting this?
I find that my eye goes to the profiles with the headshot and my eye skips over the ones with no headshot. I’m not looking for beauty, I just want to put a face with the name, get a glimpse of a personality. I can’t help it but I care less about the profiles with no face.
So, really, this is a no-brainer people. Put a picture up. It’s not hard. You can get a professional picture taken or have a friend or colleague take one with the camera we all carry around that also happens to make phone calls. Unless of course you are still carrying this around