Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
This weekend, I (reluctantly) went to see The Lego Movie. “Ugh, not another lame kid’s movie, maybe I’ll get a 90 minute nap “ I thought but I walked out of the movie honestly and truly surprised. I also mentally scheduled a trip to the Lego store to stock up on mini figures.
I digress. This isn’t a movie review, lemme get to it.
We’ve all been in situations where the day to day “Business” gets in the way of understanding what our customers truly want and find ourselves missing opportunities to make solid connections with our customers. There are meetings to attend, budgets to manage, internal politics to navigate and it’s easy to let customers and their needs fall to the way-side. The Lego Movie served up some valuable reminders about focusing on your customers first.
Warning: movie spoilers ahead (but your kids or folks on Facebook or Twitter probably already spoiled them for you so I don’t feel quite as guilty).
1. The “Kragle” will stop you in your tracks
Your company’s relic or Holy Grail prevents you from focusing on the most important part of your company, your customers. The way your customers interacted with your company today is probably not the same way they connected with you three months ago. Customer purchasing behavior changes and evolves faster than seasonal fashion trends. Let go of the fear of getting stuck. Grab some nail polish remover, remove the superglue and release the old ways so you’re free to move forward.
2. Spend some time in Cloud Cuckoo Land
Ask yourself, “Why Not?” and invest the energy to dig in and explore a creative idea. You can help you create something your customers will think is awesome and unexpected. Once you know who your most valuable customers are, experiment, test and create a new and profound way to add greater value to your customers lives.
3. Singing “Everything is Awesome” won’t make things better
Blindly following “best practices” will surely lead you astray. Convincing yourself, your team and your company that following instructions to the letter is an exercise in missed opportunities. Focus on what your customers want, need and expect from your company. If you don’t know, ask them! Nothing is “Awesome” until your customers tell you and show you with their wallets, that it’s so.
(sorry about the earworm, the song’s stuck in my head, too)
4. Stuck with a Piece of Resistance
That object that’s stuck to your back, the thing that’s stopping you from getting things done? It’s time to offload that sucker so you can focus on what’s most important. You’re better off spending your time getting smart about what your customers think is great about your company, what they want to see from you in the future and why they’re talking about you (or not talking about you). Take a moment, ask why this thing is weighing you down and figure out a way to dislodge it.
5. Your “worst” ideas (double decker couch) could save the day
If you tell yourself, “That idea is just the worst,” but you know who your most valuable customers are and what motivates them, stick by your idea. Don’t discount your qualified ideas until you’ve run rounds of tests and tweaks with your customers. They’ll validate your ideas with their feedback and purchases.
6. The prophecy of “The Special”
Everyone wants to be “The Special” when it comes to customers but it’s up to you to make your products and services “Special” to them. A viral video or turning yourself into the latest Public Relations darling won’t make you special. Your customers tell you you’re special when they ring the register. Show your customers how your products and services are different than your competition, help them solve problems and improve their lives.
7. Wait, who’s Lucy?
If your company’s identity is continually changing, pivoting from “WyldeStyle” to “Lucy” about whenever it suits you, you’re confusing your customers and making it hard to work with you. Customer loyalty? If they can’t remember who you are or what you do, there’s no chance for a second purchase or word of mouth marketing. Stick with who you are, the value your company brings to your customers and focus on building a positive, long-term relationship with your customers.
8. Don’t battle with the “BadCop” or “Lord Business”
No one likes to deal with the Bad Cop or a corporate stooge. When you interact with your customers, let them to deal with the “Good Cop” and be their advocate. Be human, be positive, apologize when you need to and mean it. Your customers want to feel appreciated, supported and validated. Focusing on positive and nurturing behaviors will set you apart from your competition and create customer loyalty.
9. The Man Upstairs
Every company has someone they report to; the board, shareholders, revenue targets etc. but your real reporting structure centers around your customers. Don’t let pressure from “The Man Upstairs” force you to do something your research and testing tells you won’t benefit your customers. Focus on forming valuable, lasting and profitable connections with your customers.
10. Overpriced Coffee
The only time your customers think an overpriced cup of coffee is “awesome” is if your coffee delivers something to your customers they can’t find anywhere else. If your coffee makes lives better in some way that a regular cup of coffee just can’t by all means, keep your premium pricing. If it’s just a regular cuppa joe and you haven’t worked to build product differentiation or customer loyalty, it’s ridiculously easy for your customers to comparison shop, evaluate the real value of what you’re selling and buy it from a competitor next time.
Have no idea what I’m talking about with this Lego mumbo jumbo? Take a look at the trailer, it will help provide a little context.