Thinking Like a Customer

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On January 17, 2012

One of the toughest things for many business leaders to do is to think like a customer. Business leaders tend to think like . . . businesses. Most of us would probably deny this, but we act as if our customers’ goals and objectives are really ours. They’re not. Our clients and customers have their own goals and objectives. They couldn’t care less about our projections, profit margins, bottom lines, or our successes. They are interested in their own success.

Some people think the late Steve Jobs was a genius. Some think he was arrogant and unnaturally demanding. Whatever you think about Steve Jobs, when it came to product development, he thought like a customer. One big reason Apple has done so well over the last few years is that Jobs consistently developed products that people wanted. And, according to his recent biography, he developed products that he would have wanted to use as a consumer.

Are your products and services designed to meet the needs and desires of your customers? Or do you create what you sell because it fits your business model? How do you talk about your products and services? Do your customers feel like you have their best interests in mind? Do they get the sense that you are going to help them achieve their goals? That you’re going to help them solve their problems? That you are going to make their lives better? Or do they feel like you’re trying to sell them something, whether it helps them or not?

And how are you doing on the customer service front? Do your customers feel like you’re there to solve problems, or to shift blame? Do they feel like you’re committed to helping them succeed, or do they feel like you’re trying to get them off the phone as quickly as possible so you can get on to “more important” things?

In order to think like your customers, you need to be talking to your customers. If you’d like some help learning to think like a customer, shoot me a note and we’ll work out a plan to get you into your customers’ heads.