Every Tuesday NZ business strategist Lance Wiggs issues ‘Three ways to improve your business’, Last week at number two is ‘Meet your customers’.
This simple advice represents the grass roots of a customer-centric approach to building a great experience for your customers, and competitive advantage for your business.
So, if this approach is simple yet crucial to design and business, why do we have to be reminded?
In the world of retail, gaining customer insight is; there for the taking, known best practice and as old as shops themselves.
In traditional retail, understanding customer behaviour is a matter of key staff keeping eyes and ears open. At base level, switched-on store managers can track and respond to demand and popularity of products simply by watching them fly off the shelf (or not). Front of house employees with their ears ‘on’ can gauge reaction to new product lines and track customer requests to inform potential new products or services.
Online, without face to face contact with your customer, you’re blinded to these insights and opportunities.
…of course web analytics can paint some of the picture, and tracking keywords in your site search can take you closer to the mind-set of your customer…
…but ultimately these aren’t stats or keywords, they are people and it’s about meeting them, understanding the attitudes that drive behaviours in and around the context of your product or service, and their wider goals relating to what you offer.
This means qualitative research at an individual level. By building empathy with your customers, you can gain valuable insights into their motivations, monitor changing attitudes and expectations to inform vital changes to your proposition. …just like shopkeepers have been doing for thousands of years.
Lance’s timing is good however, as too many online businesses have failed to keep eyes and ears on their customers. It’s an old and proven approach, and it ain’t going anywhere soon.