Let’s imagine you have a friend who owns a restaurant, and your friend asks you the following question:
Out of necessity during the pandemic, I replaced paper menus with QR code accessible digital menus. Should I continue with the digital menus, or am I keeping them more for my cost savings as opposed to customer preferences?
How would you respond?
As a young consultant, I would have quickly responded to that type of inquiry. These days I resist the urge to offer spontaneous answers and instead ask questions to ensure experience optimization for target customers.
Below you will find sample questions that might help you determine how to serve your key customers best.
1) What is the age distribution of your current customer base, and which customer groups are your strategic priority? For this discussion, let’s assume your customer base skews older, but you want to attract a younger demographic. That information should guide a transition from low tech to high tech tools.
2) What are you informally observing and hearing from customers about your current approach? Your customers’ actions and spontaneous conversations are rich resources for service decision-making. In the words of Diana Oreck, Executive Vice President – Owner Experience at Netjets, “You learn so much about customers by keeping your antenna up and your radar on.”
3) Have you asked your customers about their preferences? In addition to what you can glean from customers’ actions and spontaneous feedback, it is vital to create a regular cadence of customer listening. Often this inquiry can be as simple as a one-question pulse survey.
4) How do you accommodate customers who want an alternative experience? Since few brands serve a singular customer group, it’s essential to explore how you can adjust your primary delivery method to meet the needs of secondary and tertiary customer segments. In the hypothetical example above, the restaurateur needs to create workable solutions for customer segments that don’t want to use a smartphone to order their food.
5) If you make a service-related change that results in a cost-saving, how are you reinvesting some of that windfall to enhance the experience for your optimal customer segments? When you win, your customer should also win. Efficiency should benefit your bottom line AND the future needs of your core customer segments.
While customer design questions seldom have easy answers, the more we understand our optimal customer segments, the more effectively we can make choices that benefit them.