Red Ruby Shoes

Clicked the red ruby shoes to bring you this week’s Best Impressions–I’m somewhere over the rainbow–Oz perhaps, as I’m writing today’s newsletter from a cave somewhere outside of Kansas City.

I’m taking computer training on developing online learning courses at the International Academy of Science. I know that still doesn’t explain why I’m writing in a cave, well, the Academy is located in an old limestone quarry – underground, yes underground (if it looks like a cave and feels like a cave, it must be a cave….) Maybe,  I’ve seen to many spy movies… but it sure feels odd working on computers deep in a cave. Just waiting for James Bond to wander by…

I’ll write more next week on what I’m learning, but wanted to follow-up on last week. Some of you asked me; "How do you determine what they want…"  when I mentioned that excellent businesses go one step beyond (+ one) to exceed customer’s expectations.

How do I know they do or don’t desire red ruby shoes?

Be the man behind the curtain (couldn’t resist the bad segue) and do some simple market research. Don’t rely on "gut feeling" or "intuition" to make a decision as important as this-– remember the old saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees…you might be surprised what your customers value. 

Starbucks really doesn’t just sell coffee; they “sell” community and community activism.

Finding out what your customers’ desire doesn’t have to be expensive market research–just ask your 5 best customers what they prefer about your company over competitors.

Consider asking your most difficult customers the same questions. Remember, you are trying to find what "quality service" really means and perhaps gain some new ideas–you may find the difficult customers have the most valuable information.

Tips on developing your Customer Survey

  1. First, tell them how much you value their opinion and time, remember be brief.
  2. Design your questions to be open ended, not yes or no type questions. Asking open-ended questions is a valuable skill to develop (if followed up by listening).

    Examples of open-ended questions:

    — What prompted your company to use us?

    — What are your requirements for this product?

    — What are your expectations for this product?

  3. Ask only one question at a time. For example, "What are your expectations and requirements for this product?" is two questions.
  4. Do not seek personal information. This survey is not meant to add to your “list of leads.” It is meant as valuable market research information.

Use this research to make a list of existing service ideas that customer’s value and also a list of new ideas you can implement. That in a nutshell is a part of “Results Oriented Business Success.”

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