How Can You Tell If You're Really Customer Connected?

I have a question – a question that you may have as well: How can you, as a manager, marketer or an innovator, tell if you’re really customer connected?

Sure, it’s easy to feel customer connected – you’ve done your market research, sat in on the focus groups, and tried the product out yourself, as though you were a customer. You brought a sample home for your best friend and your mother-in-law, too. But do these things really mean you’re connected to your customers? Do they really help you get the real and honest feedback, the picture of how your customers use, perceive, like and dislike your products that you really need to define customer net value and move forward with innovation? Hard to tell at this point.

While its hard to know exactly when you’re connected and when you’re not, I’ll suggest the following “test of threes” to help out. Try it out for yourself:

– Can you quickly describe 3 things your customers like about your products?

– Can you quickly describe at least 3 things that frustrate the heck out of customers about your products?

– Can you describe three experiences your customers have had and told you about recently with your products?

–  Are getting at least three useful inputs or comments per week about your products?

–  Have been “in the field” at least three times in the past calendar quarter?

If you, and the people in your organization, can answer “yes” to all of the above, you might not be completely connected, but you’re well on your way.