No matter how much any given business differs from another, there is one thing those two businesses are guaranteed to have in common: reliance upon customers.
Whether we run a consultancy or a catering service, own a clothes shop or a car dealership, we exist for our customers, and our mantra should be “to delight our customers profitably”.
This means that we should all ask ourselves the question: what do our customers want?
There are several problems here:
- We don’t have just one customer.
- Each customer’s requirements are different.
- Customers change their wants depending on when you engage with them.
So how can we learn what our customers want, and how do we respond?
Talk to your customers. Train your customer-facing staff to engage in conversation with customers and glean their verbal requirements. This is not a one-off process – it must be ongoing so that changes in requirements can be identified.
The customer can’t tell you everything. Customers only talk about the requirements that are important to them at that time. They also only talk about those requirements they know about – people see and know what they want only from their perspective. The best way to get around this is to go and see how your product or service is being used. Again, this is an ongoing process and should be done more than once. You might be surprised at the improvements you pick up on that will make your product so much better for your customers.
Pool the information you have… and prioritise the requirements based on your product or service and what you intend it to be. Then make sure that any changes you make will be valuable both to the customer and to your business.