It’s what you do but is it what they want?

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of giving customers what you can do, rather than what they want.

Of course, what you do is great. You’re really good at it and you enjoy doing it. And it’s much better if you can convince yourself it’s what the customer wants because then you can stay in your comfort zone, doing what you love to do. And if it’s near enough to what they want, they’ll stay with you. Right until someone else gives them exactly what they want, and they will disappear like the morning mist.

Doing what the customer really wants is scary. It means you have to ask them to find out for sure, and it might not fit what you do. Then you’ll have to learn some new stuff, do things you don’t know how to do and might not like. And, of course, you might get it wrong. That’s rather challenging.

The good news is that the customer will recognise that you’re trying to give them what they want and they’ll cut you a bit of slack. They’ll excuse the odd mistake, the occasional slip-up, because they will trust you to get it right in the end. And when you do, they will ignore the siren voices of others and stick with you.

Note for service developers: this is a really important question to ask when you are designing and building your service. Are you doing something because that’s the easy way, the way it’s been done before; or because it’s the best way to give the customer what they need? (To put it the other way around; if you take the easy or familiar approach, does it still deliver what you need to delight the customer?).