Everyone knows the concept of flow by his or her experience. Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. The concept of flow was proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Csíkszentmihályi calls flow the optimal experience.
Does the positive concept of flow apply to working with customers? Yes, it does. Customer Flow is the optimal experience in which two or more parties are fully immersed in realizing defined goals with a feeling energized focus, full involvement and success. It feels like results are achieved effortlessley and in a pleasant way.
Customer Flow is the optimal experience experienced by people (like the commercial director of the vendor and the purchase director of the buyer). But customer flow also applies to teams and organizations.
Customer Flow can appear in working relationships in general and can also appear when working together in a project.
There are seven conditions for customer flow to occur (in random order):
- clarity. Expectations and goals must be clearly defined and mutually agreed. Any concerns may exist but must be shared as this provides clarity.
- choice. Parties must choose to work together on a project and must realize that chosing for this project means that they have to dedicate time, resources and energy that at the same moment cannot spent elsewhere.
- centeredness. Parties must act from the center, authentically.
- commitment. Parties must commit to work together without limiting conditions.
- challenge. Apart from economic growth (profit), both parties must experience working together as a challenge as they can grow in terms of knowledge, experience or otherwise (not economically).
- confidence. Parties must feel confident to provide their share in the success as defined by expectations and goals.
- congruency. Parties must act congruent and consistent during the whole process.
Customer Flow is a very rewarding state for all participants. It is a state where energy is freed up to get things (and projects) done.
Customer Focus is a prerequisative for customer flow.
Read here why customer focus matters, now!