Are you your customer?
One of the first rules of interacting and engaging with your customer is actually knowing who they are and what they think about your product. One of the ways to do so is to ask them (and with social media that can happen in a much more meaningful way), to ask your frontline staff, and to keep an eye on churn. But do you really know how your product, or brand, is perceived in the marketplace beyond the 30-thousand foot view of dashboards and satisfaction surveys? Do you know what it means to experience your brand from the first impression to the last? From the customer perspective vs. the company?
A show I’ve always appreciated, in a bizarre laugh at the poor CEO trying to sort inventory on the shop floor kind of way, is CBC Venture’s “The Big Switcheroo!” because ultimately it teaches a profound lesson in business… processes or big ideas on paper are worth nothing until the first customer walks in the door and they’re put into action in real life. And that’s something that executives miss about the businesses they run — how they actually RUN. If the VP Marketing was spammed 10 times in a week and received no response to her repeated requests for removal, would the email marketing policy undergo a transformation?
If the CTO tried to order a rental car online only to have to repeat steps frequently, and then be delivered a cryptic error message would he demand stricter (and longer) QA cycles? If the CFO needed to make changes to her account via phone would she care about the customer service she received or the wait time regardless if the bottom line took a tiny hit for additional call centre staff and training?
If you aren’t in your customers shoes it’s hard to accurately judge the fit.