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Know thy customer

A reader writes that the simplest and most effective way to know what your customers want is to simply ask them directly and then listen to what they say.


Know thy customer

In response to the April 17 Perspectives column by Sharon Ward, "Who's managing this relationship?":

Amen to this column. But I'll take one of Ward's sentiments one step further. Ward said, "Software is a great place to store, sort, report or record data."

I agree, but I think there's more to what companies can conceivably search, sort and store. If I understand why my customers buy from me, what they expect, what they like, what they want from me, I can create better products, services and systems. But how do I know what they want?

The simplest--and most effective--way to find out is by asking the customer directly and listening intently to what they say. Yes: by literally picking up the phone and having a conversation with the customer, on a regular basis, driven by a desire to understand. If I understand how to talk to my customers, how to get information that matters, then I can learn from it and grow. If I can search, sort and store that type of information, then I'm one step closer to truly managing a customer relationship.

If I offer a smile or human interaction at the point of sale, great. If I can continue to offer that human interaction through my customers' life cycles, even better.

So rather than build software to search, sort and store data, why not build a program to proactively communicate with customers for real feedback? Then you can manage that information to your heart's content. That's what we've done, and that's why I'm so pleased with your article.

Megan Brooks
Truis Corporation
San Francisco



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