Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you delivered a product or service to a customer and expected accolades, only to be faced with a disappointed customer? You thought you delivered exactly what the customer was asking for, but they felt you didn’t meet the requirements at all! Customer relationships can be challenging, but they are the lifeblood of business.
Tell me a story. Often customers can be overwhelmed at trying to think of everything they need in a product. Eric suggests having them tell you a story about what they see and what using the product (or service) is like. Don’t be just a note-taker. It’s important to engage and ask follow-up questions. Understand the context of their need.
What do you plan on using it for? Sometimes customers think they have it all figured out, and they tell you what they want down to the letter. Even when they do this, find out what they plan on using the product for. You might be able to provide better alternatives that will more appropriately fit their expectations. You’re the expert and may think of something they didn’t.
What’s not in the box? Don’t only define what the expectations are but also what they aren’t. If you put some qualifications around what it’s not, it helps to prevent situations where the customer says something like, “Of course I meant I wanted that as well. Everyone knows you need XYZ when you get ABC.”
Starting on a firm foundation of understanding customer requirements can get you far. We talked about techniques for managing expectations and how to save a disappointed customer.
Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.