Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Align yourself with the customer

The best way to move forward is to align yourself with your customers.  If you aren't working toward the same goals as your customers, issues will surely arise.  

A recent example is Apple's map service. Apple's customers want (accurate) maps, directions, and navigation on their phones.  Apple wants a proprietary mapping software to integrate into their other products.  The problem is, the best way to get the gross amounts of data you need to make an awesome mapping service is through crowd sourcing.  Apple chose to launch a "decent" version of the service hoping that their customers will overlook the issues and provide the data they need.  This difference of goals, has created a lot of media buzz... and not in a good way.

In my own work, one of the first contracts I created for a Conversion Rate Optimization project was solely measured on Web Conversion Rate.  At the end of the contract, we had increased the web conversion rate by over 250%, but the business hadn't received the same benefit because they weren't able to close the deal with each new lead.  Their back office conversion rate, based on leads generated from the website, dropped from 97% to 78%.  This difference in goals created some tension.  Realizing the harm of having different goals, we reconciled based on their goals (as it was the spirit of what we were trying to do).

If you align yourself with your customers from the beginning, no matter what twists and turns life or business throws at you, you will pivot together and always be working toward the same end.