Slow Down and Listen to Your Customers2018-10-15
One of the great things about being a new start up is the ability to listen to our customers and act quickly on the feedback we are given. Contrast this with large multinational organizations and you see a stark difference between the two types of organizations.
Real life example
In the last few days at an industry trade show we had opportunity to meet with many customers and present our platform as a solution. Inside the very positive feedback we received across the board a key theme emerged, make it easier for me to search and sort how I want to see it.
So instead of ignoring only a couple of comments in amongst the hundreds of positive comments, we acted and drilled down to the key challenges.
“I want to sort by lowest price first, so I can see the best deals”.
Our platform is built to save people time and money. Adding this feature for our customers was something we had to do
“I want to be able to search by paint code. It is important to my customer to have a paint match.”
The thousands of colors and multiple supplier and paint types make navigating paint color options a real challenge.
We took this feedback and quickly verified with about a dozen more customers that these two features are indeed something that would improve their experience. We received a resounding yes! What we did next was what really separates a small agile company and larger organizations.
We decided that this was important enough to take action right there and then. So instead of spending hours at more cocktail receptions and after-hours festivities our COO built the solutions overnight, so we were ready to show the customers the very next morning. Needless to say, they were really impressed by our ability to act so quickly and were extremely grateful that we listened to them and acted.
What struck us the most was the single exact same piece of feedback from both separate organizations.
“We could never do that. It’s impossible for us to get things done.”
Let’s start with why?
In large traditional companies with established cultural hierarchies the voice of the customer can be lost. Often the loudest voice is from the C- Suite when in fact they are furthest away from the customer. Sales Reps and customer care representatives’ feedback is often dismissed as belly aching or “they simply don’t understand the whole business” Customer visits and events are contrived so that the message is managed both from the customer and the organization.
The cardinal sin!!!
Some organizations do try to secure and listen to customer feedback, through customer councils, third party interviews and surveys or perhaps even use a stage and gate process to garner quality feedback from the customers, market and internal stakeholders. These first steps can lead to the biggest sin of all when it comes to listening to your customers: you do nothing with the information. Now don’t get me wrong this is not because you don’t want to, this is because the infrastructure, resources and most importantly the autonomy to act is missing. Doing nothing once you have this invaluable feedback is worse than not even trying to listen.
So, what can we do?
Think Small, act small and be agile, someone needs to be the champion of the customer and change. They need a singular focus of driving change and most importantly the authority to act without over burdensome processes and controls. Imagine the possibilities for change if a $1 billion company could react to customer feedback as quickly as a $10 million company.
Talk is ok, action wins.
Remembering to act and adjust quickly to customer feedback is something we will always do at Reibus. Learning from the mistakes and challenges from our prior