I just read a great article about Dominique Ansel, whose brainchild, the cronut has made him a baking "rock star" in New York and beyond - if he wasn't already.
While I've never had a cronut, and never will due to allergies (wheat, milk, refined sugar), Dominique has a great perspective on the importance of engaging with customers to become more customer-centric.
As he shares, "The experience is crucial to what we do. I always put myself into the customers' shoes and think, what would make me happy?" How many of us are putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers? If you're not, you need to in order to create informed buyer personas and to view the problem to be solved from the customer's perspective.
Other quotes from the article that indicate that Dominique "gets it:"
- "It's about giving people something true and authentic."
- "They're emotional dishes that connect with people."
- "It's more important for me to interact with people in person and communicate with them myself."
- "People can sniff out when things lack soul."
- "Don't be afraid of trying: trying new things, or trying to understand the customer base and what they like."
- "Emotions are very important."
- "It's about connecting with people and knowing what they like and why they like it."
- "Understanding your customer is the most important part of the business."
I've written blog posts on all of these topics, but Ansel's quotes get right to the point.
Big data will provide a ton of data that will encourage you to take certain actions and predict what customers will want and do. However, nothing replaces having a face-to-face dialogue with your customer to provide insight into:
- What makes your brand "different and better?"
- How did you find us?
- Who do you consider to be our customers?
- What could we do to make your life simpler and easier?
- What could we do to provide a better customer experience?
When in doubt, talk to your customers.