Ask Your Customers

Dancing to your own Drummer

I recently went to a Zumba class that was very popular.  So I went  early and stood in the largest available space, only to be asked by a fellow dancer to move somewhere else because I was taking up some of her space.  This is particularly humorous because the one thing you can generally count on in a dance class is to move around and adjust spacing based on the choreography.  Funnier than that, during the class the woman literally stayed in the circle of her 3 foot radius, creating a few close calls with her fellow dancers.  (At that point I had drifted far enough away to prevent any collisions with me. )

This wasn’t the first time I had seen this in a class, someone who was not able to  accommodate new additions.  Granted, maybe the classes are very full, but it is a gym after all,  not a one-on-one personal training session. So why did this person feel the need to so strongly control her space in a situation that required flexibility?

The obvious reason is that this was one of the few situations where this person could control her space.  I somewhat get it.  The boost in her confidence is worth a couple of gym goers being temporarily annoyed.  Here’s when that philosophy doesn’t make sense, when a business takes on a similar train of thought.

Many organizations have spent a lot time establishing their missions and offerings, based on positive responses from their customers.  What generally happens at that point is that the business gets lulled into complacency, which it calls its company culture:  “This is what we do and this is why we do it.”  “If it worked in the past, it will work again in the future.”  The company culture, which usually becomes self-selecting, is particularly great when the organization is thriving.  When things start to slow down for a “long” period of time, though, no one can understand what is happening.  This is usually because everyone in the company thinks the same, and they are probably encouraged to do that, which means that rarely will things ever change.

Believe it or not, even in cases like this, there are fresh thinkers nearby who are willing to give your company feedback.  These people are loyal to you, want to see you succeed, and are willing to help you — for free.  Who are these people?!?  Your customers!!

We can’t urge you enough to ask your customers the tough questions, listen to their responses, aggregate the answers, and RESPOND!   This is at the heart of customer surveys, and if you have not done these on a regular basis, you are taking a huge business risk.  There are many different kinds of surveys — in person, over the phone, online — for customer service ratings, new product ideas, company positioning.  They are wonderful tools and have an amazing ROI if you use them properly.

Let us help you dance with your customers, whether you’re better at the waltz, two step, or Zumba. Even if you need lessons, don’t worry,  we’ve got the steps down.

All my best, Aruna

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