There is one question we get asked more than any other when it comes to customers...
..." Why do we need to understand our customers better, when we have been successful for a long time operating the way we have?"
And that is largely true, until its not.
"The balance of power has shifted over the last decade. Once, our future was determined by the result of our strategies, our operational excellence, our ability to deliver our financial results. There is much more to it than that today. Now, the customer decides. Social media and access gave our customers a great voice, and that very loud voice is what defines the future of the organisation. You need to earn that trust on a daily basis, with every interaction.”
Alain Bejjani CEO Majid Al Futtaim Group, Bahrain.
Customers stay with companies until they reach a point that when they decide enough is enough. And someone else gives them enough of a reason and makes it easy to leave...forever.
Over the last 10-20 years, the leverage has moved from your Business to your Customers. Customers have access to far more relevant information and are exercising their power to decide far more readily than ever before. So what does that mean if you work in a Business with customers?
It means that today you need to better understand your customers far better than before in order to compete and differentiate your brand from your competitors.
What we have observed is that while some customers are extremely vocal, but more often than not, customers never say a thing. Eventually they just get a little too miffed, don't feel valued and one day just up and silently leave.
And with them goes years of revenue that could have easily remained with your organisation had only someone just listened to and responded to what was important to them.
There are so many competing objectives in execution of our roles. With KPIs that are business focused, meetings clogging our diaries, managing the differing points of view of senior leadership and trying to gain traction to push change through businesses set up to operate in silos. It can be easy to forget the key role of a business is to help customers achieve something that is of value to them and to really deeply understand where that value lies.
We helped Transport for NSW, design the Service Experience for the new Sydney Metro. As we approached the project, it would be reasonable to assume that what was most valuable to customers we could have set about how to design deliver a world class ‘Metro’ experience that made it easier and more enjoyable to catch the Metro. That also would have been a world class mistake.
Instead, we applied a Structured Customer Understanding methodology to address the question “How might we design an integrated Metro travel experience that is so easy and engaging to use, it is my first choice every time I want to get around Sydney.”
It took a little time, but some way into conducting research with customers we uncovered that special something which reframed the entire way not only we, but Transport for NSW looked at the development of the Metro experience.
And it was this. People weren’t worried about being able to get to the Metro and catch it to the City. What would actually determine whether they used it or not and what worried them more was the confidence to know they could get home just as easily. The penny dropped. People would make a decision on using the Metro on how successful it was in getting them from not door to door, but “Door to Door to Door”. If they were unsure if the Metro could get them home, they wouldn't even catch it all.
The point is, only by working through a Structured Customer Understanding approach will you uncover that type of compelling insight that transform the way you look at a business problem.
What is that special something you know that none of your competitors do that will enable you to grow?