Steps to Management Success – Step 16: Let Your Customers Show You How to Use Your Product

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010

STEP SIXTEEN

Let Your Customers Show You How to Use Your Product

Your customers are telling you things every day, not necessarily by what they say, but by what they do—what they buy, what they ask, what they complain about, et cetera. Although there is value to surveys and focus group sessions, there is always some disparity between the way people think of themselves or present themselves and what they actually do. For example, people who think of themselves as healthy eaters may be consuming far more junk food than they might imagine—or would ever admit.

WHAT IT MEANS: Listening to your customers is worthwhile, but don’t overlook the hard evidence of what your customers actually buy from you. Try to identify buying patterns and preferences and fine-tune your marketing and product mix accordingly. Marketing well requires having the knowledge and capability to cater more effectively to the needs and demonstrated preferences of different customer segments.

ACTION PLAN: Most companies have some kind of customer database. Take a close, hard look at yours. Does it reveal buying patterns? If not, fix it. If it does, begin to develop strategic ideas or initiatives directly driven by customer spending data.

EVEN BETTER: Develop a wish list for your ideal customer information management system and determine how much of it you can practically implement. Your customers are voting with their dollars and purchasing decisions every day—what are they telling you? By answering this question as precisely as possible, you will be able to make smarter marketing, product development, and customer service decisions—and be more on the money about your product/service offerings to various customer segments.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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