How to Get Closer to Your Customers

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Amanda Setili draws attention to the problems that arise when there is not a process in place to understand evolving customer needs and develop new offerings to meet those needs.

Have you ever been on a team that has spent weeks trying to solve a problem, and then one day it dawns on you that you are each trying to solve a different problem?

To illustrate, imagine a company whose leadership is frustrated by their lack of growth, so they assemble a team to come up with a solution. The Operations VP says the problem is, “We don’t hear about any new innovation until it’s already pretty much coming at us.” Sales says, “Our products are too expensive.” Marketing complains, “We’re undifferentiated in the marketplace.” And the CEO muses out loud, “The real problem is that our revenues are flat when our competitors are all growing at 7 to 10% each year.”

Those are all symptoms. None are the actual problem, which might be something along the lines of: they lack a process for understanding evolving customer needs and developing new offerings to meet those needs.

In the example I cited above, the team could have discovered this problem by going through a series of “why” questions something like this:

 

Key points include:

  • Flat sales 
  • Pricing
  • Product line-up

Read the full article, Before Your Team Tries to Solve a Problem, Make Sure You Agree on What It Is, on LinkedIn.