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A new (Johari) window on your customers

The Johari Window is a fairly well known cognitive psychological tool to understanding relationships. It basically contends there are things that you know about yourself and things you don’t. As well, there are things others know about you and things they don’t know about you. When you combine these into a simple matrix, there are some practical observations.

  • Arena – There are things about you that everybody knows – your hair color, your eyes, your height, weight, etc. 
  • Blind spot – There are things that others know about you, but you may not see, such as annoying habits or shortcomings. 
  • Façade – There are things you know that others don’t – your habits, your secrets.
  • Unknown – There are even things you don’t know about yourself and others don’t know – subconscious things that make you do the things you do.

The Johari Window has an interesting lesson for our customer relationships. Often one of the biggest obstacles customer advocates face in getting people engaged and using voice-of-the-customer information is that they trust themselves. Relationship managers, product managers, marketers, service professionals – we can all fall into the trap of believing we instinctively understand the viewpoint of our customers.

No matter how hard we try, we will never know everything. We will never completely know their perspective. That’s why we ask them. We invite their insights. That’s why we develop customer listening programs. We encourage their insights so we can better understand their needs. If we can capture it and deliver it to the right people, our organizations will be more customer focused and perform better in the marketplace.

Do some of your people think they have it all figured out? Maybe you could provide a new "window" or view of their customers to open them up to building a better business through the use of customer insights.

Patrick Gibbons

About the Author

Patrick Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons

As Principal and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Walker, Gibbons has global responsibility for definition, branding, and promotion of the company and its solutions. Gibbons has published and/or contributed to a number of articles, papers, and blogs on customer intelligence topics and has a regular column in CRM Magazine. He has been a featured speaker at a wide range of conferences, and has produced a series of educational events for customer experience leaders.

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