Throughout my career I have seen history repeat itself over and over again: leaders making important changes without having a conversation with their most important sources — their customers. You see, what leaders are looking for is data that supports the path they have always followed or believed to be the best strategy for their organizations, but when you look carefully you will see that what the data supports is the opposite.
What worked in business years ago does not work today. Times are changing. Customer wants and needs have also changed. Imagine twenty years ago, when some technologies didn’t exist, and customers’ desires were different than today. A great example is the fast food industry. The menus are constantly changing. They are always trying to keep up with what their customers’ needs are. Are you?
The obvious place to start is with your customers. Create solid questions to receive solid feedback. Analyze the solid facts. Most importantly, take what you have learned and implement it into fixing your current strategy. When Americans started eating healthier, McDonald’s reacted to it by including healthier options to their menu. Did the trend take anything away from them? No, because they now can have customers who became health-conscious continue eating at their establishments.
With so much competition and new products and services coming out every day, businesses can no longer act on whims. There must be secure, solid systems in place to learn how to grow your organization. Leave the “I feels” at home and state the facts. Customers often shop based on emotion. Businesses do not succeed based on emotions. There’s a difference.
To learn how to start collecting solid customer feedback, check out my previous article “Business Strategy Based on Knowledge Instead of Belief.”
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