Knowing your customer is critical for your business’s success. You’ve been in your industry for a while and you’re in tune with all the happenings. It’s easy to say that you know your industry and your customer. But do you really know their pain points and the stresses of their jobs?
You may not, and that’s ok. There’s a simple solution that can help you find additional insight into your customers and their experiences, pain points, and stresses: a day in the life of a customer.
What is a day in the life of a customer?
A day in the life of a customer (which we’ll start paraphrasing as a DITLOC for brevity), is a pretty simple concept. Short interviews and second hand information can tell you a lot, and all of your business units should be communicating with each other to better understand your customers and the industry. But that can only tell you so much.
Instead of relying on second-hand information or short interviews with the end-user to inform your business, you need to actually spend a day with your customer.
How does it work?
There are a few different approaches to doing a DITLOC. However, today, let’s look at Randall-Reilly’s approach.
The first thing you want to remember is that a DITLOC should be as non-invasive as possible. There are definitely going to be interruptions to a customer’s day, that’s a given, but you want to make sure you aren’t sending more people than your customer can handle. Remember, this should be like a normal day for them. You’re just shadowing . . . a la Mike Rowe without the video cameras.
From what we’ve seen, sending a small group – no more than 4 people – works best. Small groups can be spread throughout a company to get different perspectives without overloading capabilities.
By spending a day with a customer – and doing so in small groups – you can get one-on-one time that you might lose otherwise. As things come up and they do their everyday job, you can probe and ask questions to find out more about specific issues or capabilities.
It’s tempting to focus on execution. But this is a bad policy. Try to take a step back and find out broader information. Ask about their specific jobs and pain points. You might found out something that can improve your go-to-market strategy.
What do you get out of it?
So now you’re left wondering what’s the bottom line? You’re spending a lot of time to meet with customers. There are plenty of other things you can be doing. What makes this so important?
Frankly, this is the best part of a day in the life of a customer.
There are a lot of things marketers can learn from a DITLOC. In particular, you can learn the information you need to develop buyer personas. You’re getting to know your audience, what they do, and who they are. You have near unlimited access to them for a day.
You won’t have a better chance to get the basic information needed to develop buyer personas.
It’s not all just for marketers with big budgets and capabilities though. Even if you’re a single associate who handles marketing for a dealership, you can benefit from meeting and spending time with a customer. If you can better empathize with your customers, you can write more creative and relevant copy, create better connections with content, or even design more compelling images.
So it’s just for marketing?
No. Absolutely not. All of your employees can benefit from meeting and spending time with the members of the industry they serve.
Sales, product development, and customer service can benefit from a DITLOC as well. Like I’ve been saying, this is a great opportunity to really meet with your customers and find out more about them, what motivates them, what problems they experience, what keeps them up at night, and what they like and dislike about their job.
When you understand this kind of information about your customer, you’re enabling your own success. A sales rep, for instance, can find out a better way to approach a prospect or lead. And if that means they’re making additional sales, then the time they spent with a customer is well worth the investment.
Much like marketing, DITLOCs can have a real ROI.
You have a lot of things to do. You’re busy trying to meet the day-to-day demands of your business. It’s completely understandable. But here’s the question you need to ask yourself: if you have an opportunity to immediately affect your effectiveness, why aren’t you?