Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes

There are two advantages to walking a mile in your customer’s shoes. Firstly, you will be a mile down the road before your customer realises you have his shoes. Secondly, you will know a lot more about your customer’s problems, opportunities and difficulties. The second reason is more important, although I don’t really recommend stealing customers’ shoes for either reason.

We spend a great deal of time thinking about our own problems, difficulties and the potential opportunities for our businesses. Then we go out into the world to sell what we have to offer. We just know that the world will beat a path to our door because we’ve spent so long working on it, thinking about it, and getting it right. Meanwhile, our customers have been having their own issues, their own problems and their own worries. When the world doesn’t stampede us in their eagerness to get hold of what we have to offer, we are left bemused.

So turning around and looking at the world from your customer’s viewpoint is tremendously valuable. Our products and services are designed to let someone else to make the best of an opportunity, to solve a problem or to improve their lives in some way. Of course we are in business to make a profit on what we sell, but unless we can really understand why customers need what we sell, we will not build the best possible business - for ourselves or for our customers.


  1. You are so right, it just sometimes that we need a kick from our customers to borrow their shoes. Last week I decided that we might borrow a desk and chair in our customers office to see the world from thier perspective. In reality to create a voice of the customer in our business. We shall see how it goes.

  2. I was at a meeting a few weeks ago talking about the benefits of co-location, and everyone agreed they were significant. It's all too easy to think we know what other people's problems look like, whereas the reality is quite different.

    Don't forget to give the desk and chair back though ... Shoes are one thing, furniture is quite another. Hope it goes well!