In a client meeting recently, we discussed the results of some customer research. This company, highly successful, is doing something that is rare. They are avoiding many of the traps that get in the way of understanding their customers. How are they doing it? By using a shockingly simple method-observing. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, real time observation of interactions with customers and what customers do before, during and after interacting with the store staff.

Here is their approach –

1. Establish clear objectives

2. Describe the behaviors that will achieve the objectives

3. Select people based on whether or not they are intrinsically motivated to engage in these behaviors and pursue the shared objectives

4. Provide real-time, relevant feedback.

5. Celebrate successes.

6. Have the highly successful mentor others.

What are they NOT doing?

1. Counts hits on their website.

2. Doing meaningless, customer surveys (they do them, but in a targeted way.)

3. Allowing employees to fail to live up to their standards.

This is not rocket science. That said, it is easy to get distracted by irrelevancies. Focus on what customers will love. Love enough to beat a path to your door. Don’t ask them, watch them. Make interacting with your business irresistible.

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