Yeah, I know.
Now that I have your attention.
If everything about running your business is rainbows and unicorns and will always be so forever and ever no matter what happens…
…and you’ll never need to do anything to change or adapt to things like technology, customer preferences, social dynamics, or even something as unexpected as a pandemic, then feel free to skip this and go on scrolling about your day.
Or, check this out…
In my line of work, and because of where my career has taken me over the past 22+ years, I find that I spend more time than the average bear looking for ways to apply the best of one situation or industry and apply the principles to another seemingly unrelated situation.
That’s why I couldn’t help being fascinated by a viral story that stemmed from one gynecologist, Dr. Ryan Stewart (you can find him on Twitter, @stuboo), who – in preparation for opening a new office he intended to design from scratch – took to the twitterverse to ask a few simple questions. He said:
“I’m asking women. How would you design/optimize a visit to the gynecologist’s office?
No detail is too small”
uncov.. offered some incredible insights. A few quick samples:
- Adjustable thermostats in patient rooms
- A signal to let health professionals know you’re done changing
- Changing room inside the exam room
- A layout that prevents overhearing private health conversations
- Pay attention to the angle of exam beds, they shouldn’t face the door
There were so many more, and I won’t go into depth here as to why any of the above ideas – or any of the suggestions – are better than the others. I haven’t visited an office myself to have any qualitative opinion on their individual or collective merit, however, I do know this much…
There really is no substitute for good ol’ fashioned customer research!
“But what if I don’t have a way to get feedback like this or am not comfortable with posting these sorts of questions about my business online?”
“That all seems easy if you’re starting from scratch, but what about someone who’s been in their business for a long time?”
The real answer is to find a way to get it done anyway.
Whether on your own, or by getting help from someone (like me, perhaps?), craft a plan to collect some customer research.
There are SO many easy ways to do it, but you’ll want to be mindful of avoiding biases that can skew your results in ways that keep you from getting the insights and answers you really need.
A few fundamentals to consider:
- Ensure the format or approach you use enables the responses to come in unfiltered and free from candy-coating. If you call your best customers and talk to them on the phone, that’s better than nothing, but you’re not likely to get a complete picture of changes that can make a big difference.
- Focus your efforts in a way that will yield responses you can a) actually act upon and b) are prepared and willing to adapt or respond to when they come in. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything that is suggested, but you’ll want to celebrate or announce the changes you made as a result of the research. This way, your customers and prospects will feel validated for the time they took to provide the feedback – even if you only do one thing, it will buy you time to execute others when you talk through the first change.
Another solution to consider if you don’t feel ready to tackle a customer research initiative:
Rally your key leaders and unpack each step of your customer experience.
This is especially important if you’re in a situation where you learned how to run your business by watching how things were run while you worked for someone else.
For example, I can’t tell you how many contractors I’ve worked with over the years who started their own business after spending years working for someone else before deciding they wanted a bigger piece of the pie or were convinced they could do more on their own. This, or just as a function of time, can cause anyone to fall into “the way it’s always been done”. Here are a few questions to work through with your team:
- How do we answer the phone when it rings?
- What is our quote/estimate process and how can we make it better for our customers?
- Is our website clear and easy for someone who has never seen it before or for someone who knows nothing about us or what we do?
- After we finish a job, provide a service, deliver a product, how do we ensure our new customer feels valued and appreciated?
The list could go on, but I hope this gets you started.
I’d LOVE to hear what you found was most helpful, and more importantly, what you’re going to do as you prepare for 2022 to improve your customer and prospect experience. I promise you’ll see improvements in your revenue, customer loyalty, and conversion rates.
Need help? Get stuck?
Shoot me an email with “research” as the subject line and we’ll get you further down the path.