Want to accelerate your development (and your performance) in 2018? Join Safety on Tap Connected to get me as a coach, learn with a community of amazing peers and educational content you won’t find anywhere else.


Hey it’s Andrew Barrett from


This episode is part of my 2017 end of year challenge – I’m committing to give you two weeks solid of advice, reflections and actions for you to maximise what you learn from 2017, and  unleash your greater potential on 2018.  I’m sharing one episode every single day for the two weeks leading up to Christmas, so check out the other episodes numbers XX through XX.  There is no particular order, each one of these will be great on it’s own, but listening to more will give you much greater value.  If you are listening to this at any other time of the year, have no fear! – the best time for you to take action on this is always right now!


In today’s episode I want you to get focussed on knowing your customer.


Working in health and safety, we often fall foul of thinking that we know all the answers – that we know what people want and need.


That may be true, or may not be.  But one thing is absolutely true – the people inside the business who you serve, don’t care about what you think nearly as much as what they think.


As a health and safety professional, we exist to serve others.  What that means will depend on our role – senior leaders serve boards and execs, and the teams they lead.  Field advisors serve project managers and supervisors.  Systems people serve the users of their systems.  Trainers serve the participants at their training.   I serve you, as health and safety professionals invested in your own growth.  I also serve small businesses who are sick of traditional safety, amongst other things.


When you think about your customer, a few things start to shift in your mindset:

– you reframe your work as a service to others – you start to offer customer service

– you demote your interests in favour of theirs

– you must by definition spend time listening to their wants, their needs, and importantly what they aren’t saying but you can see might help (unknown unknowns)

– you refocus on the benefits of your services, the results you deliver.  You focus much less on the features of your services which we seem to obsess over (the audits and training and systems and advice) your customer doesn’t care about features, only benefits.

– you start to sell, rather than tell, people about solutions to their problems – it changes the way you influence rather than trying to control

– you educate your uneducated customers

– you measure your performance based on what they think, what they say, and how they interact with what you have to offer

– you always focus on the customer, not customers.  Whilst you have multiple customers, each one of them are only concerned about themselves – so serve them as a unique customer

– you figure out who your real customers are – the influencers, the decision makers


A member of Safety on Tap Connected recently had a dilemma we discussed during our coaching.  He was asked to run a risk workshop, apparently for WHS risks.  One significant customer indicated that the workshop needed to expand to address other business risks.  Should he push back? Should he say no? Should he separate WHS from other risks? Was he capable of doing this? These were all good questions, but more about him, and to some extent missed the key point which was this is what the customer asked for.  So with that frame of reference, we coached through some options for how to move forward, with the customer central to them all.


Ok now it’s time for reflection and action.  Pen and paper at the ready.  Look back on 2017 and jot down how well you, and your team, know your customers.  List them out, describe their wants, needs, and what they don’t know.  Make a note of which customers you think you are serving well, and which need some love.  Then get ready for a big 2018.  Same structure, clean sheet.  Go and actually ask your customers the same questions – wants, needs, unknowns, if they are satisfied with your services, and what they think you can do to improve.


I want you to get customer focussed in 2018, and take positive, effective and rewarding action to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Seeya!