Customer Observation: Keeping the Focus on Customers
At Volaris, we are in a unique position to help the businesses we acquire engage with their customers because of our focus on the vertical software market. Being vertical means that we’re able to pay attention to our specific customers and their particular needs, compared to companies in horizontal markets who may not have the resources or time to focus on the many different kinds of customers they have. For that reason, I want to talk about customer observation and how we help businesses stay connected to their customers.
Growing One Customer at a Time
As businesses grow, one customer at a time, they adjust their products incrementally from customer to customer. At Volaris, we like businesses who have taken this approach because it tells us that they have listened to their customers and are willing to make necessary changes to their products. As time passes, however, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your business is all about your products when it should be about your customers.
So how do you keep the customer connection? What we do is encourage all our businesses to observe and listen to their customers, rather than just take the products they have and improve them incrementally. This is the first step businesses can take to understanding what problems they’re solving for their customers and what value they’re adding to their businesses.
Getting to Know Your Customers
It’s important for businesses to remember that their products succeeded in the first place because they kept the focus on customers. That’s why customer observation matters.
Customer observation doesn’t just mean visiting your customers: what matters is going out beyond the boardroom and really listening and understanding what the people are doing with their jobs every day. Once you see how they get done what they need to get done, then you get to really understand where your customers are coming from.
As you go out and study your customers, look at places where your products aren’t currently being used. Go into departments or areas of business you haven’t been to before and study the people there, to see what you can do for them. If you approach them with an open mind, you might just be able to come up with new ideas that will make their lives easier and add value to their business and yours. In this way, customer observation allows you to see things with a fresh pair of eyes, ensuring that your products stay current with what your customers’ needs are right now.
Ultimately, our businesses succeed by listening to our customers, giving them longevity and allowing them to be more agile. Through customer observation, you can break out of the incrementalism that so many businesses get trapped by, empowering you to think outside the box and increase the value of your business.