Online Newsletter for Call
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D. Editor and Publisher
Volume VII, Issue 8
Date: August 1, 2006 - Talk to Your Customer
I recently read an article in Fast Company “Talk to Our Customers? Are you Crazy? “ (July/August issue, p. 71, by Ian Wylie). Basically it’s about a bank that has a team of customer experience renegades who challenge their top executives to get out and meet their customers.
While lots of companies have some sort of customer focus in its mission statement, the larger the company, the more insulated they seem to be from their customers. Many organizations use customer satisfaction surveys and focus groups. Others simply assume that customers are just like them.
The problem here (which I have said many times) is that then companies create products and processes to suit them, not the customer! The way to find out what customers want is to observe them, act like them, and then ask them.
In this article a team of people did just that. First they went and watched customers; then they completed a typical customer task themselves. Then they asked actual customers questions. Back at their office they went to the website and attempted to check the interest rate for a mortgage, or tried to fill out credit card application forms.
Some of the visits took only a couple of days only. And they didn’t have to spend half a million dollars on research.
A very simple example given was observing people at an ATM machine. They seemed to struggle with a grocery bag in one hand, maybe a child in the other. The observer wondered why they didn’t put the bag down.
The answer was simple. The bags were made of paper and the ground was wet – putting the bag down meant getting the contents soggy or worse yet, the bottom falling out.
What did the bank do? They put a shelf by the ATM machine. Problem solved.
Here are my questions for you:
Can you (or do you) observe your customers?
Do you attempt to complete a typical interaction?
Do you use your website as if you were a customer?
Do you ask your customers questions about their experience with your organization, be it telephone, email, or website?
If you can answer yes to the above, good for you.
If you answer no to any of the above, why not?
Have a great month - unless you have other plans!
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