Thursday, September 16, 2010

Make your life an integral part of your customer's life

We all want our products and services to be important to our customers. So important that they are integral; the customers can't live without them! Since this is our aim, we need to really be intimate with that customer's life. Talking with them is not going to be sufficient... you should live with them.

Think about it. If you were to design something for your spouse or child, you'd know the types of things that would delight them. You understand their lives, their values, their ambitions, the full context and reality of their existence.

So why do we expect to know our customers that well from listening to the complaints to our call center or reading the answers to a survey?

Here's a radical idea for getting Deep Customer Empathy: Live with your customer. Work in the customer's office, or live in their home, or drive in their car. Experience their world through from their perspective.

This might seem like a crazy idea. However, anthropologists have been doing this for decades. Margaret Mead used this method to study adolescence in Samoa. Lego had a team who lived with kids to understand what their lives are like (leading to the revitalization of the company). Read about more companies who've taken this approach in this CNBC article from last April.

This is method 3 in my list of 101 methods for getting Deep Customer Empathy, and falls into the "be the customer" category, although it obviously overlaps in the watch. Why "be"? Well, because it is so close that you kind of brush into playing the part, at least for a time. In fact, that is my challenge... live with them and become one. You'll have very deep customer empathy...

What would living with your customer look like for you?

98 more methods for deep customer empathy coming...

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