Why you need to put yourself in your customers shoes

“My mother says she’s cold and then makes me put on a coat”

Chris came across this quote above the other day and posted it on our blog as it made her chuckle.

Reading it I thought that, despite it being attributed to ‘Colin, aged 7’, it could have equally been applied to myself around that age too. I was forever being told that if I went out with wet hair I’d catch a cold, to take my coat off inside so “I felt the benefit”, or indeed, forced to wear a coat when I went out on what seemed a perfectly warm day.

Looking back, I’m can see that this was just because my mum cared about me and was trying to look after me, but when you’re 7 and desperate to get outside and play, these demands were usually followed by a whine of “oh, Muuuuum” and much stamping of feet – why couldn’t she understand that I was about to spend the next hour or so running around like a lunatic and that a coat would therefore just be too warm?

Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more the quote seemed relevant to this blog (bear with me here).

So many businesses, instead of asking their customers whether they’re hot or cold, just assume that, because they believe in their product, their customers must be hot for it too.

Businesses create the website they would want to see and then wonder why they’re not getting the results that they’d like.

Most businesses believe passionately in their product (that’s generally why they’re in business in the first place) but allowing yourself to become blind to the likely concerns of customers as a result – ignoring the need to handle objections, provide supplementary information or truly engage with your visitors – is incredibly naive.

It’s very difficult to effectively put yourself into the mindset of a potential customer, particularly if you haven’t made the effort to get to know about them.

A recent Econsultancy survey of businesses found that the majority of respondents didn’t undertake any form of user testing, focus groups or customer interviews.

Without the sort of insight that come from these types of customer research, how can businesses expect to be able to create a proposition that responds to their customers’ needs?

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