All companies know the importance of being customer centric, but how many of them encourage ALL their employees to think about their customers and to try and serve them better every time?
What about you? When was the last time you yourself listened to or watched your customers using your product or service, to learn more about them, and to underst and them more deeply? Most people see this as being the responsibility of their colleagues in the Market Research and Insight Department and are happy to wait for them to come and present the findings of a research study.
Your customers are constantly changing, as are their attitudes, needs, desires and how your products and services fit into their lives. This means that everyone should be involved in getting to know them better and being close to customers should be on their 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, several groups in the organisation leave their offices and go 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 organised by market research
- accompanying demonstrators who are showing or sampling your products in store
- serving customers behind the counter if you have your own retail outlets
- accompanying 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
In order to really underst and what people will be witnessing, it is advisable to run a briefing session before allowing them to go out and observe 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 observing 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 first you learn what is important to your customers, rather than just finding the answers to the questions you might have. Everyone can meet up at the end of the exercise to share their observations and build greater knowledge and underst anding of the customer.
Try it; you will become a fan of these exercises and as a result, of your customers as well! If you already run such experiences we would love to hear about your ideas and success stories.
For more ideas on getting closer to your customers please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/vision/
This post is adapted from an article which first appeared on C3Centricity Dimensions on July 7th 2011