Whatever happened to common sense? Sometimes (no, many times) I really wonder.

And sometimes I think we put so much thought into this thing called “customer experience” (and “employee experience”), when it’s really pretty simple.

It’s really just common sense.

Common sense is defined by various dictionaries as…

  • “Sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” [Merriam-Webster]
  • “Good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.” 
  • “Sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like.” []
  • “The basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way.” [Cambridge Dictionary]

Synonyms: discretion, levelheadedness, prudence, wisdom, horse sense.

Here’s the problem. “Common” would suggest that a lot of people have it. But it’s not so common anymore. And if we called upon this particular “sense” more often, I think there would be a lot less customer angst about transacting with certain companies.

We put a lot of time and energy into outlining these grand strategies to execute on brand promises and to devise great organizational cultures, but if company founders and leaders stepped back for a moment and just thought about…

  • Why are we in business?
  • Who is paying the bills?
  • Who is keeping our customers happy?
  • How do we ensure those folks (employees) are happy?
  • Are we doing the right thing (by both customers and employees)?
  • Does this (decision) make sense? (If in doubt, refer back to the first bullet.)

… I think they’d be a lot better off. (And I’d be out of a job. :-))

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. -W.C. Fields              

I had a great conversation with an industry colleague last week. We talked about how customer experience would be much easier if each of us involved in delivering a great customer experience thought about this: “We are humans. We are the customer. We are the consumer. Would this be OK for me if I was on the other side of the counter? Based on what I know and feel, does this make sense?” I realize this brings into play The Golden Rule, and I’ll do a post on that soon, but I also think this is the essence of common sense.

Common sense is not something that can be trained or that can be learned in school. It’s thinking about your own experiences, what you already know. How you feel. Is it the right thing to do? And when I call to ask you why on Earth, when I travel with my two young kids, you think it’s OK for the three of us to be scattered around the plane rather than sitting together, your response is, “OMG. I’m a mom, too. I think that’s crazy. Let me fix that for you right away.” And then not charge me $75 to do it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a little more common sense in our daily interactions with companies.

Victor Hugo said it best when he said, Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”