Move beyond customer requirements, coding, and testing to take a closer look at the end-user experience.
Expanding your perspective is critical, when you move from a Technical Professional, into a management position. Moving from individual focus, to team focus. From tactical, to strategic. But there's one more layer to that expanding perspective. The ability to see things from the customer viewpoint. Never underestimate the power of the customer. As a new manager, it's crucial that you understand the customer mindset. You need to think from their perspective. What's it like to do business with your team, or your company.
What's it like to use your products. When you can accurately anticipate the customer experience you deliver, you can improve it, increasing sales, and building loyalty. Here are three things you should know about the customer perspective: First, customers don't just purchase products. They react to the experiences you provide. Managers who capture this leadership nuance quickly, build a reputation for doing much more than meeting deadlines. They guide their teams to create fiercely loyal customers.
And remember, those customers aren't just the people who buy your products or services. For many Technical, and Non-Technical Managers, your customers may be inside the company. Perhaps in Sales, Marketing, or RND. Whether the customers you serve are internal, or external, you can reinforce your team's vision and strategy, with a keen focus on living up to your brand promise. In other words, delivering a positive experience, that strengthens the relationship with your customers.
To do that involves having a healthy obsession with how you provide your products or services, not just what you provide. It's about moving beyond technical expertise and accuracy, which are certainly critical. But the most successful managers also define how their team members will behave and respond, when working with customers. They get team input and buy-in on that direction. So whatever happens with the deliverables, the customers sense an unwavering, and a cohesive sense of commitment, through every single interaction.
The experience is just as important as the product. Your success is determined by how you provide both. Second, customer behavior can be tricky to decipher. If an extensive survey claims that 87% of your customers would by a product with certain features, you might be tempted to quickly retrofit your offering, based on that quantitative data. However, research shows, there's often a disconnect between what customers say they want, and what they actually purchase.
As a manager, you'll need to dig deeper to predict customer behavior. Look for nuances that might tell you the real story. Observe customers in their natural habitat, to figure out why they're using your products, not just how. If you over-rely on the hard facts, you might miss some of the subtle distinctions, that could catapult you to greater success. Finally, customer preferences change. Knowing your customer mindset isn't a one-time thing. It's an ongoing task. Even if your product is the hands-down winner to solve your customer problems, things inevitably change.
Advanced technology might make your product obsolete. In other cases, customer preferences simply change. They just want something different. If we aren't paying attention to what our customers are thinking, to what they need and want over time, we might miss those signals. We can proactively make adjustments, or wait to respond, after the sales numbers crash. Knowing the customer viewpoint, puts you in control. If you can anticipate their changing needs, you can adjust your products, or services, to maintain market share, and hopefully expand it.
That thought process is the signature of a powerful leader.
- Moving from technical skills to relational skills
- Becoming more self-aware
- Communicating with greater impact
- Moving from individual to team results
- Broadening your perspective
- Building productive and meaningful relationships