A little over a month ago I posted about the importance of knowing who your customer is. I mentioned that it’s not enough, however, to know who your customer is, you must provide products and services that your customer values. This is by far the more difficult task — it’s not always clear what exactly your customer will value. While you might believe that what you are providing has hit the mark, your customer might believe otherwise. And if this is the case, then you’ve got a problem.
To refresh your memory, I’ve had a long-term job where I provide support to a key employee who works for a client of mine. I meet with the key employee for a couple of hours every week, and we work closely together on a variety of projects. However, I only meet with my actual client once every couple of months. About a month ago I ran into a snag where my actual client reminded me who I needed to please — and it wasn’t the key employee.
As a result, I completely revamped my approach to the project — thinking I had zeroed in on exactly what my client valued based on the feedback provided to me. Well, today I learned that I still had not hit the mark. So, instead of trying to guess what my client wants, I asked for a face-to-face meeting where I could gain a better understanding of what my client is looking for. Will I leave the meeting with an exact picture of what my client values? I sure hope so.
You can never assume your customer values the products and services you provide. Constantly seek feedback to be sure. You (probably) can’t read minds, so you’ve got to do it the old-fashioned way — just ask.