Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Smarty Pants

from the THINKing blog:

Smart Customers

Posted: 06 Oct 2009 06:13 AM PDT

Your customers are smart, but as marketers, we often misconstrue what they are telling us. We’ve written about this before but thought about it again today when I read a piece by Valeria Maltoni entitled “Your Customers Don’t Know What They Want.” Maltoni says,

Whenever you design a survey, a feedback form, write a phone script - throw away everything you know about your product and service. Your customers and prospective customers are not in your head - they don’t have your same history and assumptions about what you ask. Instead, look to capture the outcome they’re seeking. What job are they trying to do?

It’s not that customers don’t know what they want, it is that they don’t know the possibilities.

Krispy Kreme gives us a prime example of asking the right questions and actually listening to their smart customers. They didn’t ask the customers what they wanted in a donut. They asked questions that got to the heart of the Krispy Kreme brand experience. Consumer input brought about the “Hot, Now” signs and the drive-through window.

Maltoni suggests that marketers ask questions and listen to customers for,

  • indications as to how they’re solving a problem now or thinking through it
  • hints that the second answer is where you should focus
  • clues as to what gets their hearts racing in addition to their minds going
Listening to your customers is always good, particularly in a recessionary period.

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