When you deal with the same types of customers, buying the same products and using them the same way, every day, it’s easy to be lulled into a smug confidence that you know everything you need to know about how customer needs are evolving.
Market research and management reporting systems are notorious for “averaging” all customers together. This blends specific needs into a bland summary of general information. As a result, critical “outlier” information gets lost in the mix, and companies lose out on valuable insights about customer needs.
They focus product and service enhancements on the “average” customer, and as long as she’s pretty happy, they think they’re doing well.
This is dangerous.
When we ignore the unusual customers – the ones at the edges of the bell curve – we miss important market signals.
These “outlier” customers are those who do things a little differently. They may use our product or service in an unusual way, perhaps even in a way that’s never occurred to us.
Why is this important? Continue Reading →