Why You Must Communicate From the Customer’s Perspective

I recently got an email from HomeAway (the vacation rental by owner company) with this subject line:

Rent Out Your Home During SXSW for Only $49

My first impression was that $49 isn’t a lot of money to make it worth my while to rent out my house. Surely I could get more than that from renting out my house.

I was thinking from my perspective, as the homeowner. Unfortunately, this email was sent from HomeAway’s perspective and not the homeowner’s perspective.

You see, when I opened the email and read the details, the truth was that I could pay $49 to list my house with HomeAway.

This reality was completely opposite to how I interpreted the email subject line. Not only had the subject conditioned me to not expect to make a lot of money, the reality was they wanted me to actually pay money. Ouch!

While this example may seem extreme, your company is likely guilty of something similar. You are sending out emails or advertising messages that don’t quite make sense to your customers.

At a minimum, you are confusing your customers. At the extreme, you are making them mad or turning them off of to your company or service.

In the example above, a better subject line would have highlighted what the customer would get from renting out his home. Always flip the perspective when writing the words that your customers will see.

Consider how it will be received. Think about what it means to the customer. Is there ambiguity in the wording that will leave doubts or questions?

Take some time to audit your communications with customers:

Are you sending emails to customers that only make sense from your internal perspective?

Do you use the voice and position of the customer when you are crafting your messages?

If you had to rewrite the email subject line above, what would you say? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

I look forward to seeing your creativity.

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