In parenting you often have to say no to requests. It can be the newest toy, ice cream in the store or another chapter of the book before bedtime. A trick taught in parenting books is to say that you wish you could meet the request. “Oh, yes, it would be awesome if we had time to read the entire book, but you need to sleep now.”
Then the focus is moved to connecting with the child.
“What part of this chapter did you like the most? What do you think will happen?”. Since most of the time the request is actually about connecting with the parent.
Next time I get a feature request, that will not be instantly prioritised, I will try the same.
“Yes, it would be nice to also be able to filter days by phase of the moon . If it would not have caused any other tradeoffs we would implement it today, but it is not possible at the time.” Then move on to connecting and getting the customers perspective. “What problem would filtering on moon phase solve for you? What made you come up with that idea?” It might be that this customer has insights that you can not get from your perspective (some live their lives by the rhythm of the moon). It can also be that the customer likes your service and wants to be a part of the work, feel connected and seen. By both asking about the feature and taking interest in the customer the questions move from justifying the request to understanding the customer.
So next time a customer scream for ice cream, see it as an opportunity to connect.
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