Your customers are lying to you
Here's how to get to the bottom of how they really feel
The other day I went for a haircut.
At the end of the cut, they always take a tissue out of a tissue box, and hand it to me with a knowing nod.
I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with the tissue. But in order to not breach protocol, I nod back, thank them for the tissue, pay, and walk out of the place with the tissue still in my hand.
I then find a bin and throw the tissue away. 🤷♂️
I suppose I could just ask what the tissue is for, or politely decline. But I don't. I just can't be bothered.
This is a pretty trivial example. But it did get me thinking that as a customer we usually won’t volunteer if we don't understand something.
We usually just put up with it, or go away.
The trick is therefore to actively pursue customer/stakeholder insights. Without real feedback you don't know what works, is broken or is unclear.
Getting feedback isn’t easy though. Usually, if the customer/stakeholder was quite happy they'll often just tell you what they think you want to hear ("it was great!"). 😀
So you can’t just ask customers what they think - you need to understand what they do.
They way to do that is to ask them about a real time they engaged with your product or service. Where were they, at home, at work? Was it in the morning, or towards the end of the day?
You’re trying to transport them back to the moment. You then ask them to step through every little step they took.
As you’re doing this, I’ve found that it’s helpful to keep an image of a timeline in your mind, from the very first interaction to the last. Your goal during the call is to fill it in.
Sometimes they’ll jump ahead, that’s ok, just make a note to cycle back to the parts of the timeline they skipped over.
You’ll be surprised by what you learn.
The other day we did this for our contract playbook tool (LexPlay). When we started the call, the customer told us it was all great.
But when we then asked them to step through every single small step, we learned they were doing a lot of editing of playbook entries.
We followed up by asking if they could share their screen and show us their approach. It was then immediately obvious that the process was counterintuitive - it was painful to watch.
The fix turned out to be surprisingly easy. Learning what to fix was the hard bit.
For further reading about this method, I'd highly recommend The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. His book is primarily focussed on validating new business ideas, but I’ve found the same approaches work really well for getting customer or stakeholder feedback.
Thanks for being here,
P.S. If you need help with any of these things, we’d love to help out :-)
Commercial contract review: fixed fees + fast turnarounds. Work done by our in-house lawyers.
Contract playbook solution: get a custom playbook that lives in LexPlay (a smart MS Word plug-in). Train up new and junior lawyers to a high and consistent standard. Empower sales team to negotiate their own contracts.
Multi-country and repapering projects: such as localising T&Cs, employment contracts, answering regulatory questionnaires as well as Data Protection remediation (SCCs etc).