Staying In-tune with Customers

What is the coolest assignment you’ve been given by your boss? I was given an assignment to watch an episode of Undercover Boss. I was stoked. It was a welcome break from spreadsheets, capital improvement proposals, approving invoices, etc. I thought that my boss was crazy for having me take time out of my day to watch a television show, but I quickly realized why.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Undercover Boss is a series in which CEOs and presidents of large corporations go “under cover” and work at the ground level of their companies: packing and shipping, sales, customer service, etc. The show documents the experience they have and what they learn. Nearly every episode results in the boss learning new things about their company. These experiences shatter the corporate goggles that they usually look through. They are made aware of strengths, weaknesses, and unsung heroes, and they take those learnings back and implement them into company strategy.

I love the premise of the show. If you’re a leader or owner of a company, are you in touch with what your products/services actually do day-to-day, how they are put together/serviced by your employees, and the experience your customers have? I know for most small business owners, it’s easier to stay in touch at the ground level, but everyone suffers from the “goggles” to some extent.

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel for business and I always try to meet with a client or two and ask about their experience with OrangeSoda. Now, I’m not an owner, or even an executive; however, in my position it is very important to be in tune with how our products and services are perceived and used. I get to hear first-hand about the experiences our customers have. I have learned a lot about our service personnel, products, and brand through these brief visits. Candid customer feedback is amazingly valuable.

If you’re not in a client-facing position at your company, I’d highly recommend calling up a client and taking them out to lunch. You’ll be amazed with how much you’ll learn about your clients and your business.