It's About Your Customer, Not You!
I was reading a great blog post yesterday about compelling events and it got me thinking about the way that many of us in business deliver our products or services.
The context of the compelling events article was essentially that they had a defined date and were as a result of a particular business event. The one piece of the post that provoked my thoughts was the element discussing the understanding of the customers compelling event.
To all of our businesses, customer is king, but we often lose sight of this fact during our normal working day. This is primarily the case in the services delivery world where the purchase is not instant for the most part i.e. it usually involves multiple interactions e.g. a piece of consultancy.
What tends to happen is that we become so inwardly focussed that we forget that we are engaged with the customer at their request i.e. the project often turns into being “our own” and not for the customer who asked for it in the first place.
So how do we stop this happening?
There are a few simple steps that we can take.
- At the outset of the project, make sure you understand the customers end-game. This may seem an obvious statement, but can we all put our hands on heart 100% of the time and say we took the time to really get where the customer was going?
- Revisit 1 above throughout the duration of the project. The team should be focussed on the customers end-game all of the time. Engage with the customer, has anything changed? If it has, are the needs still being met.
- If things start going wrong, don’t become inward looking e.g. you’ve run over-budget. If this is your fault, then it’s your problem, not the customers. They should still get the same attention they always have and should not feel like they are being forgotten.
- Talk to your customers regularly. Tell them what’s going well. Tell them what’s not – they can often help out or at least be willing to understand your view point.
- Encourage your customers to be open with you. If they can’t/won’t, no matter, you have to be open with them and continue to seek an understanding of their drivers.
There are plenty more examples, but this should give you a good idea on how to create a project that is focussed on the customer and never loses sight of that fact.
Sure give it a go and see what happens!
The photo is attributed to TonyVC on Flickr