The consumer has never had a louder voice. With tools like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Google Reviews, one unpleasant experience with a business can be shared with thousands of people. This is great for both consumers and businesses. Consumers can research companies and previous customer experiences with a business before they purchase, and businesses that create great customer experiences are more likely to succeed. It’s bad news for poorly run companies, as consumers are about twice as likely to share bad customer experiences. Clearly it has become more imperative than ever to become a customer focused company. Here are a few ideas (independent of today’s infographic) on becoming a company where the customer is at the center:
Product development can take place in house, but without talking to customers you’ll never truly have a customer focused product. You need to get out of the building and talk to customers.
In customer development, a business or entrepreneur interviews customers with the end goal of building a better product for them.
Customer development can be tricky and it’s easy to do it incorrectly without some training. We’ve put together a list of resources to help you learn and excel in customer development.
Working Backwards From The Customer
Amazon has a phrase “start with the customer and work backwards.” Each Amazon product manager writes up an internal press release that centers around the customer problem, how current solutions fail, and how the new product will blow them away. If the benefits don’t sound interesting, the product manager will need to iterate until they actually have a list of useful benefits. Once the product gets into development, the press release becomes the guiding light.
To truly become a customer focused company, you need to look at things from the customer perspective, as opposed to a financial perspective. Usually the money will follow. A customer focused company looks at the company from the outside-in rather than the inside-out.
The options consumers have for connecting with customers has never been bigger. Phone calls, emails, tweets, live chats, and Facebook messages are some of the more common routes. If you want to become a customer focused company, you need to understand how your customers prefer to interact with your company. Limiting their options can lead to frustration. This doesn’t mean you have to be on every channel imaginable, but instead on the channels where customers most commonly interact with your brand. Being on Twitter is recommended as customers are talking about you on this channel.
Below is an infographic from ExactTarget that shows how to thrive in the age of the customer.