To be fully customer driven at your place of work requires not only a deep understanding of the product or service that you supply to your customers but also an understanding of what your customers are trying to achieve.
Ask Questions To Gain Understanding
To get this kind of understanding you need to really drill down to the core of your customer’s processes. Attempt to get answers to questions such as the following…
What are your customer’s objectives? Why do they use your particular product or service? What job or purpose are they fulfilling from their purchase? Are any other products or services used in their wing-to-wing cycle of operations? Do they use your product or service in the way in which it was intended to be used? This last question can be very insightful particularly if you find that your product or service is being used for something other than its intended purpose.
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You need this kind of deep understanding to go beyond the customers’ expectations. Knowledge of their entire process and where your product or service fits in may provide you with an opportunity to see where you could add additional value. Adding value in terms of new products or services or in terms of incremental improvements to existing products or services is innovation.
Being Customer Driven Improves Your Ability To Innovate
You will find that gaining this kind of knowledge and understanding of your customers to be a lot more valuable in terms of your ability to be innovative than simply asking your customer the question “What can I do to improve my product or service?”
Knowing why something is used allows for something more fundamental to take place. It opens up new innovation possibilities both with your existing product and service base but also can provide opportunities for new markets and customers that you perhaps haven’t previously considered.