One of my favorite blogs to read is Mike Brewer's MBrewerGroup. (He's actually the reason I started blogging in the first place!) Mike's content is always relevant, smart, and actionable. I want to showcase and excerpt from one of his more recent posts entitled "You are not Your Apartment Customer"
How do you keep up with your customer
Tom Peter’s popularized the phrase Management by Walking Around [MBWA], defined by BusinessDictionary.com this way;
Unstructured approach to hands-on, direct participation by the managers in the work-related affairs of their subordinates, in contrast to rigid and distant management. In MBWA practice, managers spend a significant amount of their time making informal visits to work area and listening to the employees. The purpose of this exercise is to collect qualitative information, listen to suggestions and complaints, and keep a finger on the pulse of the organization. Also called management by wandering around.
I think it is a fair way think about how to keep up with your customer. We should be interacting with them both on and offline. Here are just a couple of ideas on how to do that;
- Ask for their opinion any time you see them
- Hang out where they hang out
- Eat where they eat
- Read the magazines, blogs and tweets they read
- Read the books, ebooks and ezines they read
- Ask permission to enlist them on your Facebook, MySpace and Tweet pages
- Participate on their Facebook, MySpace and Tweet pages
- Shop where they shop
- Read what they review
- Ride the buses they ride
- Frequent the places they work
- Experience the products and services they like
- Work out where they work out
- Ask what keywords they used to find you
How about we call this Creating Experience by Walking Around [CEWA]. The real key to remember here is that you are not your customer and in order to understand your customer you must engage and participate with them. And, make it easy for them to do the same with you.
Now, chew on that for the rest of the day and figure out how interactive and relationship based your office really is. And add Mike to your Google reader. He deserves it!