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#NoBullshitCX #20yearsFuturelab

“Customers don’t bite. Most of them.”

Talking to customers is vital for customer-centric product management. But for those who aren’t used to direct customer contact, it can be daunting. When I worked with a leading Greek bank, I trained a team of twenty or so product managers, giving them homework to do in between my visits so we could develop the new approach together. One of the tasks was “to talk to a few customers.”Each manager had to bring informal feedback from a couple of conversations to exchange and discuss. But when I returned, nobody–not one of them!–had talked to even a single customer. Even when their director, upset with the lack of progress, made clear that the task must be fulfilled before my next visit, only ONE person came through. I knew something was wrong and I wanted to talk about it. Turned out, that the managers were afraid of bothering customers being given bad feedback or any other real or imaginary things. We had to do the first chats together. Once through the initial fear, the managers suddenly saw that this was actually fun, and picked it up from there. I have seen the same with so many clients of ours.

It is always very easy for us to tell your employees to “talk to customers more.” If they are not used to it, they aren’t likely to do it, unless you help them overcome their fears. Script it, do it with them, and make sure they know the answers to tough questions before letting them do it alone.

As talking to customers is essential for any business, do you think your staff has the time, the facilities, and most of all, the fun to do it?


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