I’ve had a lot of reaction to the post this week regarding metrics being late. A great question I received on Facebook was regarding how, exactly, should someone go about understanding what is really going on DURING the experience versus afterwards.
It’s a great question, and deceptively complex.
It would be great if we all had extra time in our days, but, typically, we don’t. It would be great if we could make a phone call once a year and determine what’s really going on, but of course companies, employees, customers, products, org charts and, of course, entire economies can change pretty rapidly.
So here is what I suggest.
1. Hire from the outside.
Yes, I realize this sounds self-serving, and I won’t turn away prospects who find me via this post. However, audit yourself or your company and you are undoubtedly viewing things from your lens. Call former customers to find out why they left you and they will hold back. People, in general, tend to be kind, especially to those we know personally. So while you will get SOME information, you might not get the good stuff that really moves your company forward.
2. Randomly walk in your customer’s shoes.
I know I just told you NOT to do this on your own. The thing is, if every CEO or VP occasionally, randomly called in as a prospect or tried to buy something online, the experience would reveal itself more than doing nothing. The fact is most of us just don’t have time to do this, or we make excuses when we know the inside story. For example, how often have you heard someone in your company say, exasperated, “our site stinks,” yet know there’s nothing he/she can do about it? So the site remains as it is.
3. Ask customers why they bought from you.
Customers are full of information, and yet we rarely ask. I’m not talking about a survey or a focus group (not just because I hate focus groups). I’m talking about asking someone right away – why us? Why not the other guys? And then really listen. Listen for what almost stopped them. Listen for the real why – not just the compliment they are bound to pay you.
3 things you can do today. So why not get started?