Connect with Your Customer
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Talk to your customer about what you learned from your research.
- Organize your customer’s challenges.
Now that you know what challenges your customer faces, it’s time to share what you’ve learned.
In step three of customer-centric discovery, Connect with Your Customer, you prepare for your customer meeting, confirm and sharpen your insights with your customer, and organize and visualize your insights through the process of whiteboarding.
You also collaborate with the Salesforce account team throughout this step because they understand the solution and pricing details.
Before you set a date to meet with your customer, review what you learned so far:
- Return to the details about your customer, their business, and their industry that you discovered in the Know Your Customer step.
- Review the insights you gathered during the Be Your Customer step, taking what you learned about the business and their customers into consideration.
- Make a list of possible solutions for the challenges you noticed along the way.
This is a good time to validate the solutions you’re considering with your Salesforce account team.
When you reach out to your customer to set up a meeting, include a summary or preview of your insights. This way they know you’ve done your homework and you have something interesting to discuss.
When you meet with your customer, deliver your insights with these tips in mind:
- Be sincere. Share your experiences with their business in an honest and optimistic way. Describe positive points and areas for improvement.
- Follow your insights with an empathetic statement. Try something like, “We’ve seen this before…” or “Other customers I’ve worked with deal with this same challenge by...” These kinds of statements show you have experience.
- Get your customer’s opinion by asking open-ended questions. For example, if you find something challenging about your customer’s mobile app experience, ask, “What is your current strategy for mobile development? How well do you think it’s working?”
- Share a notable quote that your customer has said before. It can be very powerful for the customer to hear their own words, especially when they’re about something that needs improvement.
These actions can inspire your customer to take notice. They’ll see that you’re paying attention to what they say, that you’re focused on their business needs, and that you’ve taken the time to learn more about what they do in detail.
After you review insights in the meeting, show your customer that their current challenges are real issues for their business. Organize them into what we call the three levels of issues, or 3Ls:
- Level 1: Tactical or technical issues, like system errors or missed customer calls
- Level 2: Overall business consequence, like being behind in industry standards
- Level 3: Personal impact on their customers or employees, like attrition or high turnover rates
Then, analyze each challenge with your customer by asking:
- Who—who’s most affected by this issue?
- What—what’s the result of this issue?
- Where—where does this issue happen?
- When—when does this issue happen?
- Why—why does this issue happen?
- How—what conditions cause this issue?
This process often leads to clearer solutions or reveals additional challenges.
As you explore your customer’s business challenges, document what you learn:
- Write down your ideas on a whiteboard.
- Brainstorm and write more ideas on sticky notes, then move them around.
- Draw diagrams.
- Organize ideas by level of importance.
Invite your customer to join in by adding their ideas, making their own drawings, or moving sticky notes around. Whiteboarding helps you confirm that the challenges are real and helps you clarify your customer’s thoughts and concerns about the business.
In addition to whiteboarding, feel free to get creative with how you brainstorm. Consider:
- Using brainstorming and mind mapping tools—this is especially helpful in conversations where you don’t meet in person.
- Role play—this helps bring the challenges to life.
- Do interpretive dance—this sounds silly, but you get the point. Do what works for you.
Whatever you do in your meeting, make sure you record the key takeaways. Take photos of the whiteboard or save screenshots.
When Alan tries to order a pair of customized Cloud Kicks on their website, he encounters some problems. He calls customer service and notices some other glitches in the ordering process. He takes notes, organizes his insights, and calls the CIO of Cloud Kicks, Daniella Dorado, to set up a meeting.
He meets with Daniella and the Salesforce account executive, Helena Castellano, in the Connect with Your Customer step of customer-centric discovery.
As they whiteboard together, Alan confirms the issues he encountered when he visited the Cloud Kicks factory and when he ordered a pair of Cloud Kicks. Then they organize the most important business challenges for Daniella and Cloud Kicks this year.