I’ve found an interesting theme among those I’m coaching lately. When I ask about customers, I get various versions of blanks stares, or platitudes about how they are trying to stay focused on their customer.
Rather than customers, they are usually focused on some sort of internal organizational issue, the latest restructuring project, the next budget presentation, or hitting the number (whatever number it may be). Don’t get me wrong. These are important; at least urgent.
But, this blank stare when it comes to customers is interesting. After all, isn’t the customer why we’re in our business in the first place? We have a product or service that our customers need or want (hopefully both). We may be the only source for our customer. Or, more likely, we’re one of many providers of the products and services they want.
If the customer is so important, why are urgent things getting in the way? Simple. It’s easy to get caught up in the urgent, often internal, issues. Being busy can feel rewarding.
It’s harder to remember that your organization only matters if your customers think it matters.
Sounds harsh, but that’s all there is…you and your customer.
See if you can answer these questions about your customers. Before you jump ahead, there’s one rule. Write your answers in the form of direct quotes from at least five of your customers:
- How do your customers use your products and services?
- Why do they use your products and services?
- How do your products and services make them more successful?
- What worries your customers?
- What are you doing to help with the things that worry them?
- What do they see in their future?
- Will you be a valuable part of their future?
- How can you help your customer get to their future faster?
And, the most important question of all:
- Does your organization really matter to your customer? Why? (Or, why not?)