Viva’s Blog: Think like a customer

It’s not hard and the benefits are enormous. Just think how we “smart” business people make lives miserable for our customers…

Ever need to find a serial number for a broken printer and have to just about stand on your head to read the minuscule 10-digit code that’s under the printer?

How about trying to read the recommended inflation level that’s oh so subtly etched on your tires?

Or, my new favorite is about the nearly perfect lip-gloss I recently discovered. I’m ready to buy another one yet I have no clue which of the thousands of Revlon lip products it is. The name and SKU# were on a label on the bottom of the tube, which wore off within a few days.

The list of examples goes on and on. Could your customers add to it?

Don’t risk being on that list.

Think like a customer.

Step #1: Take a break from sales, margins, recruiting and everything else that fights for your attention.
Step #2: Leave your office.
Step #3: Go to where your customers experience your brand. Is it a retail store? Online? In their office? Wherever it is, go there.
Step #4: Act like a customer. Do things they would do with your product or service. Touch it. Shake it. Smell it. Live with it. Contact your own customer service department and experience what it’s like to be put on hold. Try your automated call-in service. Fill out an online form and see how it works. Is the experience painless and efficient?
Step #5: Reflect on your customers’ experience. Is your company a delight to work with? How do you know? Have you asked your customers?

Think like a customer.

Imagine, if every businessperson thought this way then there’d no longer be:

Direct mail pieces targeting senior citizens with 8-point font
E-newsletters with one headline and 20 paragraphs of copy

Editor’s note: Laura Sheridan, President of Viva La Brand, was recently selected to be the Brand Blogger for Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Laura Sheridan
Laura Sheridan, Founder & President of Viva La Brand has a proven track record of effective branding and advertising, spanning over twenty five years with some of the best in the business: Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago; Hill, Holliday and Polaroid in Boston; and, Progressive Insurance and Viva La Brand in Cleveland. Laura founded Viva La Brand to offer large and small organizations alike strategic marketing expertise to catapult their visibility, growth and profitability. Viva La Brand develops effective brand strategies and conducts ad agency searches that successfully match clients with the optimal ad agency partners. Laura is proud to work with smart, innovative leader Brands in a wide range of industries from health care to manufacturing to technology and financial services. In addition to her work with clients, Laura is an author and speaker on all topics related to Brand.
More articles by: Laura Sheridan
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