All companies know the importance of being customer centric, but how many encourage ALL their employees to think about their customers and to try and serve them better ALL of the time?
What about you? When was the last time you yourself listened or watched your customers to learn more about them, and to underst and them more deeply?
Do you usually just leave this to your colleagues in the Market Research and Insight Department and wait for them to come and present the findings of a study to you? Your customers are constantly changing, as are their attitudes, needs, desires, and how your products and services fit into their lives. Being close to your customers should be on everyone’s annual objectives.
Plan customer closeness sessions
One of the best ways to energize curiosity and excitement around the customer, is to organise customer closeness days or weeks. During these times, everyone in the company leaves their offices and goes out into the world to watch and listen to their customers, as they think about, purchase or use your products and services. There are numerous ways of doing this, but to mention just a few:
- listening in to service centre calls
- watching group discussions or in-depth interviews
- accompanying demonstrators who are showing or sampling your products in retail outlets
- working behind the counter if you have your own retail outlets
- interviewing customers as they shop or use your product or service
- observing your customers as they shop or use your product
Observation is not as simple as it sounds
To really undert and what you are seeing, it is advisable to run a briefing session before allowing people to go out and watch their customers. Your market research and insight people should be able to help with this training and will no doubt be happy to share their expert knowledge. Ideally each person should go out with a task or question to answer, rather than watching customers with no precise objective in mind. Watching and listening first and asking questions only afterwards, is the best way to gain a maximum amount of underst anding; by listening you learn what is important to your customers first, rather than what is important to you. Everyone can meet up at the end of the exercise to share and build greater knowledge and underst anding of your customer.
For more information on how to run observation sessions refer to an earlier post: The Five Rules of Observation
Try it; you will become a fan of these exercises and of your customers!
If you already run such experiences we would love to hear about your ideas and success stories.
Need help in getting closer to your own customers? Let us help you catalyse your customer centricity; contact us hereor check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/
This post first appeared on C3Centricity Comments page on July 7th 2011
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