During a conversation yesterday with one of our networking contacts (not even a prospect, really, just a helpful contact who shared some useful information about his organization and how it’s, well, organized), Megann listened carefully to a map of how the contact’s workplace functions, and with a few well-placed probes like:
- “Who makes this kind of decision?”
- “Who uses this sort of information?”
- “How does your new role compare to your old role?”
…she was able to get a much richer understanding of this fellow’s world. Because we spend the vast majority of our time thinking about prospects and customers (how to find them, get them, talk to them, and keep them), we’ve learned that everyone has customers of some sort. Maybe not the traditional customers who go to a retailer for everything from a quick transaction to a lifestyle experience. And maybe not the kind that write contracts for delivery of goods and services at an enterprise level. But if we think of customers in terms of customer service, each of us, in our business lives, serves someone. That someone is a customer. Just like that, the right question was formulated.
“I know your role has changed and you’re not responsible for customer insights as you once were, but who is your customer now?”
Asking our contact to frame his activities from a specific viewpoint made it possible to get a great understanding of how he relates to his organization’s stakeholders, and what kind of information he might have, or need, at a later time. So the next time you need to understand someone who thinks they don’t have customers, ask them to:
- Think about who they serve with what they do.
- Describe that individual as their customer.
- Tell you about what they do with, and for, that customer.
We’re fairly certain you will gain a richer understanding of how that contact’s world works.
Customer discovery. It’s everywhere.
We’re asking – and listening,
Megann and Steve