Customer Alignment: How to Align Organization and End User's Goals - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Customer Alignment: How to Align Organization and End User’s Goals

It’s not an exaggeration to say that a business must understand the needs of its customers if it hopes to survive long-term. The problem is that many assume they do and find out too late that they were way off base.

This realization might lead some to believe that the solution is to come right out and ask customers what they want but this isn’t necessarily true either. People don’t often volunteer this information. It’s up to the company that desires their business to find ways to understand and then meet the needs of its customers. That is the essence of customer alignment in today’s business world.

Observe Customers Interacting with Products or the Business

Casually observing people using a product or speaking to company employees about signing up for a service is an ideal way to understand their motivations better. It’s similar to the concept of mystery shopping in that the observer will receive the most candid picture when those under observation are not aware of it. This can take place either in person or online. The ability to conduct a brief interview with the customer afterwards can reveal excellent ideas for improvement and innovation since the transaction is fresh in his or her mind.

Decide Which Needs Are the Most Important to Meet

Everyone has different needs when it comes to deciding which products or services to purchase. For example, saving time and simplifying tasks is what drives purchasing decisions for some buyers while others are more interested in things that appeal to their senses. Since no organization can perfectly meet every need, it’s best to focus on a few that it can meet well. However, the company first needs to determine these are the things its customers actually want. Observation, market research, focus groups, and studying the competition are just some ways to go about this.

Involve Executives in Relationship Building

While it’s true that executives make high-level decisions for a company, they also need to visit the front lines occasionally to ensure that their decisions align with customer expectations. This means attending meetings and other events where customers are expected to be and interacting with them on a personal level. Exchanging contact information with one another allows for an even better connection outside of a formal setting. It is at this level that executives will gain the best understanding of what people outside of the company hope to gain by interacting with its products and services.

Listen to Employee Input

Employees whose jobs require them to interact with customers daily are a rich source of information when it comes to understanding customer concerns. Management should plan to meet with employees regularly to learn such things as what pleases and frustrates customers the most and what customers request most often that the company does not yet provide.

This strategy goes beyond greater customer understanding to providing improved employee engagement as well. Most people appreciate others wanting to know their experience and opinions because it makes them feel valuable. That feeling motivates them to work with management to better understand the customer perspective and to work hard to deliver what customers need and expect.

No business can exist without customers. Taking the time to align organizational goals and end-user experience is beneficial to all.


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