It’s been a funny old year for research. Right up to the day before the UK’s June referendum on EU membership, polls were predicting a narrow margin of victory for the Remain campaign. Many added that wavering voters would beat a last-minute retreat to the relative comfort zone of the status quo. As it turned out, of course, there was a narrow margin of victory for dynamiting the status quo. Five months later, also contradicting the pollsters, a narrow (and at the time of writing, disputed) US presidential election result delivered another raised middle finger to business-as-usual.
Many B2B companies are built on technical expertise. They start with a great innovation and turn it into a thriving business. Yet in our work, we see many examples where a supplier’s mastery of technology masks an unhappy customer base. And in competitive markets, when your customers don’t like you, you lose them – fast.
Draw a cup. What do you see? A stylish item of crockery? A football trophy? Half of a bra? The point of this classic psychology exercise is to show that what one person says can be interpreted by others in many different ways. Now draw a “seamless integrated solution”. Your IT supplier would doubtless sketch out a perfect system that solves all your problems. But what would you draw?
There’s often a big difference between what customers say and what they do. That’s one of the reasons why customer loyalty, usually measured by surveys, is a flawed metric. Look at customer engagement, though, and you’ll get a more valuable picture of what customers think of you – and a more powerful tool for generating profitability.
Discussions about what it means to be authentic both in business and in life in general are everywhere at the moment. Combine this quest for authenticity with the ongoing quest to deliver superior customer value and you have the heart of a current business dilemma: how to provide authentic value to customers.
As well as the fun and laughter of the Festive Season the intensity of expectations at this time of year can get a little overwhelming. It’s a well-known time for short tempers and tantrums. To help keep you on an even keel, we like to give a little practical help at this time of year when you’re rushing to meet end of year deadlines and trying to balance work with family and friend time.