Over my last two articles, I have discussed what I see as disturbing trends in…
Do You ‘really’ Know How Your Customers Feel, Have You Stepped Into Their Shoes?
What is the most important asset in your business?
Whenever I ask this question the common responses are:
- Bank balance; or
While these are great responses and important to your business, the one asset if we didn’t have, then we wouldn’t have any of the above is:
Our Customers. No customers = No business.
Have you ever stepped into your customers’ shoes? Literally experienced what they experience from the first interaction with your business. This includes your posts and advertisements on social media, the content you produce and your website. Do you explain succinctly how the customers problems are solved? When the customer finally interacts with your business how do they feel? Do they feel the interaction is genuine or manufactured just to get the sale?
You may think you know but do you really? Does every person in your business have the customer, or potential customer, top of mind?
A case study:
Inspire CA is a Brisbane based chartered accounting firm that do things differently. In fact, they are at the cutting edge of service delivery. To Ben, Harvee and the team their customers are at the heart of their business.
I asked the CEO, Ben Walker some questions regarding what ‘customer insight’ means to him in his business:
How do you and your team know and understand the real needs of your current customers?
“Very early in the business we made the decision to niche our business very specifically. We work with young families who run small businesses to inspire and empower the future of these businesses. Our goal is to save tax, boost profits and accelerate cash flow for them. We understand who they are, what is important to them in their lives, what they read, even down to what their favourite hobbies are.”
What relationships with customers do your non-customer facing staff have?
“We actually don’t have any non-customer facing team. If a client is in our office everyone says good day plus we host regular client dinners where all the team, and the team’s partners attend. Actually, our team member in the Philippines is an exception otherwise we all consciously interact with our clients face to face.”
Do you systematically measure your customer’s satisfaction?
“Systematic is the key word here. We do ask for feedback but not systematically.”
If there is a customer complaint or problem to what extent do you act on this?
“As soon as possible and every time.”
Do you communicate back to customers the actions you have taken as a result of their feedback?
“I had a client with different expectations around bookkeeping and the timeliness of it. I had promised ‘stuff’ on the front end during the sales process that couldn’t be delivered from the back end with the current systems we had in place. I hadn’t even realised this and was surprised to receive the feedback. I acted on this immediately with the consequence that we now offer a far superior service plus that particular customer is now a happy, satisfied customer.”
Do you elicit ‘customer insights’ from all the members in your team?
“Yes, as an agenda in our regular meetings. We share any customer challenges experienced and how we overcame them in a closed team environment. Great feedback is also shared within our Team Facebook group.”
Do you publicly recognise individual team members who have acted on deep ‘customer insights’? Do you reward these individuals?
“We have a team ‘thanking circle’ each fortnight where we call out and recognise great work including ‘customer insight’. The purpose also is for any team member to thank another publicly. Often in the busyness of each day, you don’t get a chance to say thank you. Our reward system is done on our quarterly basis from a cash perspective. If someone has had a cracker of a week, we may give them Friday afternoon off. Surprise rewards for great work.”
Stepping into your customers’ shoes.
The only way you can have ‘customer insight’ is to step into your customers’ shoes. You must walk the walk of the customer. Line up to be served, observe and interact on the shop floor, openly have conversations with customers. Adopt your customer mindset. What are you seeing and hearing? How do you feel?
Teach your entire team to understand how to think like a customer. Have ‘customer insight’ as a discussion item for staff meetings. When you and your team walk as the customer, talk with your customers and listen, you will think and operate as the customer. The future is shaped as the customer, not just for the customer.
Being the customer gives your business a precise perspective which allows you to create amazing products and services time and again. Walk in your customer’s shoes.
This is the first dimension in creating your customer-centric culture. Know your customers so well that you begin to know what they want before they even know.
“What’s right for the customer, is right for your business”.
I would love to hear your thoughts on ‘customer insight’.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH LIKE MINDED SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE