Walk in your customer’s shoes

Written May 22nd, 2008 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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I don’t believe any organization consciously sets out to abuse their customers.  But it amazes me how easy it is to do so when organizations are internally focused.

Instead of being guided by the customer-centric questions of “how can we add value to our customer’s purchasing experience?” or the related “how can we remove the waste from our customer’s purchasing experience with us?” the internally focused organization asks “how can we make our customer service representatives more efficient?”.  It’s not that internal efficiency isn’t a great goal to strive for.  It’s just that it shouldn’t come at the expense of your customers.

One prospective client recently conducted a survey of their customers and literally asked the question “how important is it for you to place orders with us on a website?”  The ensuing “not very important” response shouldn’t have come as a big surprise.  Why should a customer who has a perfectly convenient way of phoning, faxing or emailing orders today be excited about doing your typing for you? 

What’s in it for them?  That’s the key question!  What’s in it for them?

Well, there could be a bunch of reasons that they should be excited about coming to your website to do business:

  1. Your online presence is available 24/7.  Your customer service reps aren’t.
  2. Pricing and availability information is real time.  Emails and faxes aren’t.
  3. They get an additional discount for ordering online.
  4. Or, they avoid additional charges for ordering online.
  5. Avoid errors due to handwriting, mistyping, lost emails, fax out of paper, etc.
  6. Spend less time in the ordering process.Reorder from past orders, saved shopping carts, upload spreadsheets, etc.
  7. Get relevant documents instantly…MSDS, BOL, COA etc.
  8. Never be put on hold again and be forced to listen to Muzak
  9. Do business in the language of their choice.
  10. It’s free (at least to your customers).  They don’t need to buy any equipment or engage their IT department.  They get all of these benefits and all they need is a browser an id and a password.

What other benefits do you think you can offer your customers?  What else can you think of that would get them excited to come to your website and do business with you there?

Put your customer’s shoes on when you come to work and walk around in them all day long.  It will change the way you see the world…for the better.