‘Every little helps’ – could a customer lead strategy could hold the key to success for your business?
Okay, I know I’m stating the obvious here – customers are the lifeblood of our businesses. Without them, we can’t exist, period. And I get so frustrated when businesses claim to listen to their customers, but in reality think that they really know best and the customer should just ‘suck it up’.
It was so refreshing then to read an extract from Terry Leahy’s upcoming book, ‘Management in 10 Words’, about how in the early 1990s he turned to his customers for the answers to Tesco’s woes.
Now, can I just state that this blog post isn’t about how the might of national companies like Tesco are being blamed for the death of our high streets and are putting our local independent retailers out of business, so please don’t get all het up about that.
This is about how today you could learn something that could help your business grow and develop and keep your customers coming back for more.
The learnings in the book are incredibly relevant to today’s business environment and all business owners could take something away from it to improve their own customer experience.
For example, put your customers at the heart of all your operations. And this isn’t just about sending out the odd customer feedback form and putting the nice testimonials on your website. It’s got to go so much deeper than that.
Sit down with your customers and really listen to what they’ve got to tell you about your business – take the rough with the smooth and see where you could make improvements that really will make your customers’ lives easier.
When Tesco listened they found that they’d lost their customers’ trust and no amount of new products or clever marketing tricks would save them. Sir Terry realized that the route to success was going to be a very hard one and a path that only their customers could show to them.
By running nationwide focus groups and creating customer panels, he started to understand everything from the customers’ smallest niggles, to the bigger problems that drove them straight into the arms of another customer. They couldn’t put everything right at once, but even small changes were noticed and appreciated by their customers.
My challenge to you today is to go and talk to your customers. Ask them about what’s important to them, how could you make their lives easier? Start the dialogue and see where your customers can lead you – maybe they’ll put you firmly on the path to success. Oh, and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!
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