Getting Closer To Your Customers

Writen by Peter Wright

The increasing complexity and breakneck pace of running any organization has had the effect of pushing executives, managers and staff farther away from the clients that use your services. Ask yourself honestly: how many days can go by without ever thinking about your clients? We can balance the need to effectively manage our operations, without losing sight of our clients. Clients can't be top-of-mind all the time, but there are actions you can take to keep them at the forefront.

Put Your Executives in the Trenches
Implement a mandatory program for all senior executives to be exposed to clients, and their issues, several times a year. Depending on your business, executives can spend half a day listening in to real live customers at your call centre, working the cash register, or pairing up with a case manager. The benefits are endless, and executives will see your organization in a new light.

Turn Your Employees Into Customers
Remove any obstacles that prevent employees from using your products or services. Then go farther and take real steps to encourage your employees to become customers. For employees at all levels of your organization, you can't get any closer to your customers than becoming one.

Watch and Learn
Objectively observe your clients using your services. This isn't about surveys and focus groups. This is real observation and investigation to gain an intimate knowledge of what problems clients are trying to solve, or tasks they are trying to accomplish. Begin to understand that, and product development, and segmentation will take on new meaning. These are only a few ideas that might be included in a comprehensive client intimacy initiative. What would you do to get closer to your clients?

During years of developing business plans with North America's largest companies, Peter Wright has created many tools, models, and practices that are highly applicable to the strategic planning process used by medium and large organizations. Peter has recently started a website devoted entirely to the strategic planning process at


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