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What my dog teaches me about customer focus

Anna Metcalfe

Cantaloupe Ltd | B2B Specialist | 2020 Award Winner | Time-Served Marketer

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For many years, Margot and I have shared the same addiction. It’s dog agility.

You might have seen it on Crufts: jumps, tunnels, seesaws, and the like. I adore it. So does she. You’ve got a mental jigsaw to put together, at speed, with your four-legged pal who doesn’t speak the same language. And I certainly don’t speak dog.

But I, for one, want results. Whilst fun in itself, I want to earn some recognition by winning a few gawdy coloured rosettes and cheap trophies. And over the years, we have. There’s more to be done, we’re only Grade 3, but progress is underway.

Tuning in leads to results

Why on earth am I telling you about Margot (she’s a brown cockapoo by the way) and my love of dog agility?

Well, because to get results, I must tune in to Margot.

Let’s call her my ‘customer’.

A dog isn’t born knowing how to run an agility course. They don’t know how to run over a seesaw, making timely contact with the touchpoints.

They don’t know to enter the weaves on their left shoulder every time. And they don’t know which jump they should intuitively leap over when they’re surrounded by so many.

It all comes down to clear communication. With someone (yes, Margot’s a person in my mind) who speaks an entirely different language.

Some manoeuvres are quite easy to master. Like taking them over a jump that’s right in front of you. Other moves take some working out.

I have to observe Margot and see when she’s having difficulty, then work out how to help her overcome it. That’s where my trainer comes in. If I’m in the wrong position, say the wrong thing, or display the wrong body language (just a finger pointing the wrong way), it can all go horribly wrong.

3 years on, and I do understand Margot, very well indeed. I can say the right thing, provide the right support, and be in the right place (most of the time). We’ve got a kitchen wall of vibrant rosettes (and many a cheap piece of metal) to prove it.

We’ve got the results I dreamed of, with more to come.

Success comes from understanding (your customers)

To get the results you want from your customers, you must tune into them as well. It’s not an overnight thing and it’s not a one-off project. You must constantly be looking to understand them as well as you possibly can.

Understanding what they need, what they worry about, and how you can support them will lead to long-term sustainable results. Not rosettes like us, but sales and customer loyalty.

The opposite of not understanding your customers is to make lots of noise and achieve little. If you talk in a way they don’t really understand or miss an opportunity to help them overcome a challenge, everyone becomes disillusioned.

You’ll miss business opportunities and your customers will simply find someone else who can provide the value they’re looking for.

Whilst I write copy for lots of businesses, I also help many of my clients better understand their customers before a single word is written.

You might assume you know what they need.

You might assume you know what they value about your business.

The reality can be quite different.

To win a wall of gawdy rosettes (or your business equivalent), take the time to understand your customers first. If that idea makes you gulp, I’m here to help. I can kick-start the process for you, providing insight that’ll help you develop messaging your customers will totally understand and value.

Investing in this level of understanding can make all the difference to your bottom line. It’ll make, not just your copy, but your sales and marketing process, far more effective.

You know where I am if you’d like to chat – and Margot might join us too.

First published on cantaloupemarketing.co.uk.

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