Wish You Knew What Your Customers Think? Just Ask.
Did you ever see the Mel Gibson movie, "What Women Want?"
Through a freak accident involving a storm, a hairdryer, and a very full bathtub, a suave marketing executive acquires the supernatural ability to hear the thoughts of every woman within his view. In one singular, life altering moment, he gains the gift (or curse, in some cases) of being able to know, with full transparency, the impressions, opinions and moment by moment reactions of members of the opposite sex. Whether positive or negative, he now had access to a jackpot of valuable information that he was able to use to his full personal and professional advantage.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could understand what our customers want?
Imagine if we could hear their thoughts about us, our brand, how we stack up to the competition and their perceived value of our offerings? Those insights would be invaluable - if only we could somehow procure that ability - to hear their voice.
Fortunately, that it is possible - and no electrocution is necessary. 🙂
Toyota developed a radical but effective approach to understanding their customer's perception of value and needs. They call it the "voice of the customer."
You might remember seeing commercials in the 1980's-1990's where they showed lab coat wearing, clipboard bearing, engineers in grocery store parking lots studying shoppers and how they interacted with their cars while unloading their carts full of groceries.
That study wasn’t just performed for a commercial. It was real, and it allowed the engineers to observe needs of their customers and to determine what features and innovations would benefit drivers of their cars in the future.
Think supply and demand.
Simply put: get the best understanding of the demand of the market for your products/services. Then, find ways to supply it within customer expectation and values. You'll find that customers are more than willing to provide feedback, critique, and answers to your questions.
Very often the case is that no one has asked them.
Recently, we took our own advice and spent 6 months learning more about our own customers’ needs and their impressions of our name and unique value in correlation to what we do. Were we communicating correctly our brand identify and our value offerings?
The results and insights we gleaned are for another article, but we have made some significant changes to both our brand and our name based on the voice of OUR customers.
Mind-reading not required.