Don’t rely on data to tell you what’s going on in your business. Instead, find new ways to see your business through your customer’s eyes.
Smart executives go out of their way to put themselves in the shoes of their customers. They want to learn everything there is to know about the company — its products, staff, and competitors — and live it as its consumers do. As a result, if you want to see your business through your customer’s eyes, get out there and see what’s going on for yourself.
Additionally, make it a habit to do so. Informally, learn as much as you can and as rapidly as you can. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
1. Get direct feedback from your customers.
Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher would frequently fly, talk with customers and staff, and roam through airports.
Likewise, Howard Schultz, the long-serving CEO of Starbucks, spent a lot of time in stores. This helped him make informed decisions. For instance, it helped him decide to invest in espresso equipment that was below eye level. That way, baristas could see over them and have direct contact with customers.
2. Make an effort to interact with your customers.
Social media posts provide unfiltered and frequently beneficial critiques.
What do customers have to say about you and your business? Is there a positive or negative trend among the comments? What topics appear to make you want to write more? Peer in every now and then to get a feel for what’s going on and how your company is responding.
If you choose, you can employ social listening techniques for this. Many are available, and they can assist you in gathering this data and gauging customer mood.
3. Pay attention to your employees. See your business through their eyes.
Even though this is self-evident, many leaders fail to fully utilize this rich supply of information.
Likewise, the term “MBWA” (management by walking around) will never go out of style.
Employee surveys are vital. In addition, checking through employee assessments of companies on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are both helpful. In addition, look for popular sites in your industry. They can give you valuable information.
4. See your business from the perspective of your customer.
Pay attention to customer feedback on products and services.
Reviews on Tripadvisor, Amazon, Yelp, and many other sites can reveal priceless information. You’ll be able to examine how people describe your products and services. In addition, you will be able to read about their brand experiences.
However, it’s a good idea to compare consumer ratings with professional reviews. This can be done from places like Consumer Reports or CNET.
It takes some emotional toughness to sift through unvarnished consumer feedback. However, strong leaders do it on a regular basis.
5. Data from business operations should be mined.
Another excellent source of information is operational data.
How are fulfillment timings, for example? Additionally, what are the internal quality metrics? There are many information sources to be mined.
Yes, you’ll want to collect and analyze this information as part of a formal process. However, following your instincts can also lead to valuable aha moments.
6. See your business differently. Make use of informal focus groups.
There are less formal alternatives to typical focus groups. These take time and effort to set up.
However, it’s possible to just have a chat with people waiting in line at a store. Look around on social media for some of these less formal groups.
Get into a place where you can interact with some of these groups. You might be surprised at what you find.
7. Take a deep breath. Roll up your sleeves. Now…do the job yourself.
This is the best way to keep informed.
Throughout his career, John C. Bogle, the late founder and former CEO of Vanguard, the largest mutual fund business in the United States, assisted with client calls in the contact center.
He frequently expressed his dissatisfaction with the job’s difficulty. Customers had questions that he couldn’t answer. In addition, they always wanted to be transferred to his supervisor. This is a perfect case in point!
What kinds of insights may emerge if all of your executives spent some time doing — or at the very least observing — the work?
Consider adding Undercover Boss, the Emmy Award-winning reality series, to your must-watch TV list. This can give you help if you’re looking for some motivation.
It’s impossible for a leader to be involved in all of these areas all of the time. However, it’s always possible to find ways to keep connected outside of formal reports. In addition, this sets a good example for everyone in your company.
Finally, it lets you see your business through your customer’s eyes. When you do, it makes a big difference.