It’s critical that you understand your customers. You need to know what they want, what they are frustrated by, what they need to be effective in life or in business. This is no secret.
But over the years I have observed that many business owners struggle to truly understand their customers. It is especially true if the business owner has little day-to-day interaction with customers.
However, there’s a simple solution to this challenge. You may not interact with customers each and every day, but your employees do. For that reason, your employees are better positioned to “take the pulse” of your customers on a regular basis. By regularly “debriefing” frontline employees, you can keep yourself in tune with the changing needs of your customers.
What would this process look like?
The first step is to bring your employees up to speed. Decide which employees you are going to trust with this important task, they should be employees (more than one) that frequently interact with your customers and that you trust completely. Explain to them that, in order to stay better connected with your customers, you will be “interviewing” them once a week. Explain to them the information you are interested in, what your customers are talking about, how they feel about your products and services, what frustrations them seem to be facing at the moment, and so forth. Ask your employees to simply to keep their eyes and ears open. You’ll find that most of them look forward to this task, it’s an opportunity for them to share the knowledge and expertise that they are uniquely positioned to offer.
Then, put “employee interviews” onto your schedule on a recurring basis, ideally weekly or every other week. Ask your employees specific questions such as we discussed in the previous paragraph. Ask them about the mood of your customers. Ask if there have been any recurring complaints. Ask your employees for their ideas on how you could improve your customer experience.
To be successful, it’s essential that you understand the desire of your customers. If you’re not in position to have regular contact with them, turn to trusted employees that are. You’ll be surprised at how beneficial this practice can be!