Wow. I’m humbled by the commentary from my first post. I hope I can maintain such passionate interest!
Businesses cannot exist without customers, so it’s sadly ironic that many, if not most, businesses, actually understand so little about them. As a company grows, a smaller and smaller percentage of the staff interacts with the customers. In fact, those folks on the “front line” (think call centers, service counters, retail stores) are typically among the lowest-paid and have the least authority.
Meanwhile, back at headquarters fundamental decisions are made with extremely limited information about customers. There, understanding the customer is often considered someone else’s responsibility, because, “we have a department for that.” No department has a complete view of the customer, however, and so in place of true understanding are models and frameworks that attempt to describe the customer. Many companies don’t go beyond demographics and market segmentation. While it’s helpful to know how they break down by age, sex, income, region, and other easily measurable characteristics, there’s actually very little you can actually do with that information. In order to become customer experience-driven, you need to go beyond who your customers are, and understand what they do. …more at It’s Not Who Your Customers Are, It’s How They Behave – Peter Merholz – HarvardBusiness.org, published on 11 February 2009
Flickr photo credit: Roger B.