Over on the Customer Experience Matters blog, Bruce Temkin has started a conversation on the 7 key customer experiences to focus on in 2010. The article is worth the read but it was point number two that caught my eye, “Acknowledge that you don’t know your customers”. Bruce highlights the challenges of getting to know your customers and recommends the following:
Start here: Create a voice of the customer program with a cross-functional team that focuses on four “LIRM” components: listening to customers, interpreting the feedback, reacting to the insights, and monitoring results from actions over time.
What I really like here is the cross-functional team recommendation. If customer knowledge is not shared through the organization there is bound to be disconnects. You don’t want sales working on one set of customers while the product development team is building something for a different set.
Using the team approach should help alignment and dicementation of customer knowledge. Another idea here is to make the voice of the customer team a rotational assignment. This should help make the point that understanding the customer is important for everyone in the company.