Kathy Sierra in her blog Creating Passionate Customers says, “Until talking about the users/customers/members/clients becomes the most important thing, we’re going nowhere good.” She then creates a cute bingo card with phrases such as “Customers don’t want to hear about how hard this is for us to do” and “It’s not about us, it’s about the customer.”
Her post reminds me of the trials and tribulations of working in Corporate America and why, as small and nimble solo-entrepreneurs we can provide a better product with better service all day, every day. We don’t have to endure the endless stream of meetings where the next meeting agenda is the topic of discussion.
Never underestimate the value of knowing your customer. As a small business, you have the opportunity to actually VIEW your customer in the sublime act of purchasing. If you’re a brick and mortar store owner, you can actually watch your customers move through the store. Have you ever done that? Have you ever set up a video camera so you can watch your customers move through your store?
If you’re a web site owner, it’s actually easy to watch customers move through your web site. There are many tracking tools and software that can allow you to see how customers move through your web site. What pages they visit? What links do they click?
I have a client who was awed by the information in such a report. Her Measure Impax report flew in the face of traditional “eye tracking studies.” 16% of the clicks on her page were at the bottom, not the top of the page. 1 out of 6 of her visitors were reading/scrolling to get to the links down below the fold. It flies in the face of every bit of conventional wisdom out there… and is an example of someone who “gets it.”
Her web site is very customer centric. She knows her audience. She knows what visitors to her site are seeking and she gives it to them. Even if they never become an official “customer” of hers, she still wants them to leave with the information they were looking for when they arrived at her site.
Her visitors have rewarded her. Google has rewarded her as well. Her traffic numbers are impressive, yet she’s not “monetizing” her site. Why? Because her visitors might not like it.
It’s that kind of thinking that makes the solo-entrepreneur much, much more nimble than any top heavy corporation could ever hope to be.