Because they are the only real markers we have.
You can present uptime statistics, production efficiency, delivery times and numbers of this and that as much as you want. At the end of the day, it is the customer’s feelings that determines if he will continue buying your products or services.
Our emotions, our feelings are the sum of the impressions we value. And our emotions direct our actions. It matters little that you complied 100% with the SLA if the customer doesn’t feel like renewing the contract. You may think it’s unfair, that you did everything you could, or that it is irrational on the customer’s part. But the fact remains, if it doesn’t tickle the customer’s fancy, he will vote with his feet.
This is precisely why it is so important to talk about feelings. Invite the customer to open up. Make it safe to talk about that elusive airy-fairy stuff that women have been babbling on about for eons. Just as you tell the customer straight what you think, just like you open up fully about your emotions, so should you help the customer open up to you. Get underneath each other’s skin. Only then will you be able to figure out what’s really going on.
But a customer’s feelings toward you are usually not conglomerated only from his experience with you. He may have had a bad day, a quarrel with his wife or an excellent weekend trip camping with his daughter. They are elusive, these feelings. But to figure out what you can do about his experience with you, you need to get him to talk about it. Only then can you better sift out what emotions he may have specifically toward you.
Management frameworks tend to disregard emotions. Frameworks such as ITIL or PRINCE2 treat them as irrelevant and tries to supplant them with SLAs and the like. Other frameworks, such as Hubbard’s Management Technology treat them as contemptuous… HE&R (Human Emotions and Reactions) is an example of inventing a term to belittle another’s feelings.
All this goes for other relationships as well. The more important the relationship, the more important it is to talk about feelings. If you value the other person, value his or her feelings.
I hold that your feelings are your most important markers in life. It is the zest of living and should be treated with utmost respect. It is what we live for, the reason to enjoy the games we love to play, even the game of life itself.