The well you’ll keep going back to

I’ve been talking with a lot of customers lately—I’m not referring to my own customers in this case, but to my customers’ customers. I’ve interviewed dozens and dozens of these people about their museum-going habits, perceptions about long-term care, and custom marketing technology needs, to name a few. All of the information we’re gathering is providing solid information my customers use to make critical decisions and move their organizations forward. 

One project in particular has really underscored the value of this customer research—so much so that I’d suggest it’s a step you can’t afford to skip.

The case in question is that of a global company with multiple business units around the world. The company is revamping their customer intranet in each region, starting with North America.

Before I came onboard, the company had already executed a simple yet very informative electronic survey of its customers. It’s something that could be constructed and administered very quickly yet has proven to be invaluable. I’ve been involved for only six months, and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone back to that well of information. To date, we’ve used what we learned from the survey to answer these important questions:

  • What do we think we need to change? Survey results helped us plan two focused internal discovery workshops to refine the project’s scope.
  • What do users think we need to change? Survey results provided the basis for remote screen-sharing sessions with a select group of users for validation of the project scope and focus.
  • Did we get it right? Survey results helped us conduct remote usability sessions with users to make sure we got the prototype right before we moved into full-scale development.

As we prepare to hand off the prototype to the development team, one of my colleagues commented on how we keep going back to that very first survey to ensure we are focusing our work on what is important to users. This information is driving an entire team and providing direction from the voice that matters most—the voice of the customer.

Whether you’re revising your messaging, updating your brand, revamping a department or overhauling a major touchpoint like a customer intranet, make sure it is driven by the voice of the customer. Contrary to what you may believe, it is not too expensive or too time consuming to include this critical step—in fact, it’s one I’d suggest you can’t afford to skip. Let’s talk about how I can help.

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