Customer Outcomes Focus Team Exercise

Behavioural scientists say that people sometimes don’t behave as you would expect them to because of a phenomenon called “psychological distance”. Here’s an interesting video on the topic.

For example, credit cards create a psychological distance between you and your money. Compared to using cash, you are more likely to waste money and buy things on impulse.

If you work in a contact centre or in an operations team, the “psychological distance” between you and your customer affects your behaviour. The further removed from the customer you are, the more difficult it is for you to be mindful of the customer’s needs.

Take the test below to see if your team faces this issue. 

Step 1: Rate the extent the following psychological distance affects your team:
Types of psychological distance Criteria On a scale of 1-5 rate the extent the criteria applies to you, where 5 means “True” and 1 means “False”
Social distance Most of your interactions with customers are once-off (i.e. you don’t have an ongoing relationship with them)

You know very little about the customer: what they look like, the neighbourhood the live in, what concerns or interests them etc.

You have a different background to many of the customers you deal with (different culture, age, income etc.)
Physical or spatial There is a physical distance between you and the customer (e.g. different country or state)
Consequence or time distance You rarely get to see what happens to the customer afterwards

You rarely get to see the consequence of your actions or there is a delay in experiencing the consequences e.g. if you make a mistake someone else in the team picks up the problem or you don’t hear about it till much later

The link between your day-to-day actions is far removed from the income you make or your career progression (e.g. the very next customer you deal with has little to no impact on your performance review)
Total Score

 A score of 8 to 15 suggests there is considerable psychological distance, and it may affect your ability to be customer outcome focused. No need to be hard on yourself – it’s human nature! For example, we all know that we should be saving for retirement, but many people don’t save because of the distance (retirement is far away in the future).

Step 2: Work as a team to remove the psychological distance

Here is a list of ideas your team could use to become more customer outcome focused. Vote for the top 3 ideas and put them into practice.
  1. Spend an hour a month meeting customers
  2. Work in a different department for a day to get a better appreciation of the customer
  3. During a call, visualise the customer (what they look like) and picture them as someone’s father, daughter or sister
  4. During a call, ask yourself “what does the really customer need?” Remind yourself by putting a post-it note on your monitor screen
  5. Remove things that might distract you from being empathetic whilst you’re talking to a customer (e.g. email notifications, phone text messages, desk clutter, noises and smells)
  6. Give out your name at the start of a call. At some point in the call, say the words, “I will take personal accountability helping you”. You’re more likely to take ownership if you actually say it out loud to a customer. Do this especially when the issue matters a lot to the customer, and you have more control of the outcome than they do.
  7. Enable customers to follow-up with you e.g. give them a name, a direct number or email and asking them for feedback (this might require formal approval from your manager or it may not be viable in your operations environment). Employees who are made accountable to the customer, try harder.
  8. Reduce the time delay in getting feedback or get feedback more regularly e.g.
    • During less period, personally follow-up with a customer and ask them for feedback
    • Review complaints feedback data once a week
  9. If your next performance review is far into the future, try to visualise what success at your next performance review looks like.
  10. Imagine that every customer you dealwith might talk to your manager afterwards. What will they say about you?

Step 3: Sustain

To stay on track:
  1. Get together again as a team in 1-2 weeks to see if there has been any difference. Share stories and experiences with other.
  2. Get your team together again in 3 months time and go through this exercise again

We’d love to hear your about your experience – please email us: We read every email.

Back to Profiler
Enter Team Code