MEETING A CUSTOMER IN SALES-MODE IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM ENCOUNTERING THEM IN AN EXPLORATION-MODE
To work in the same industry for many years can be a blessing as well as a curse. The same knowledge that makes you a master can become a prison of the mind as the world changes. Often enough, in experienced companies, customers gradually get viewed and managed from a greater distance than before. Customers may eventually end up as little more than graphs and statistics on a spreadsheet, to be discussed and debated in lifeless meetings in the conference room.
CUSTOMER SAFARI MEANS LEAVING THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TO GO OUT AND WITNESS FACTS AND REALITIES YOURSELF AND WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES FAR BEYOND TYPICAL CUSTOMER DATA
On the Safari, one looks for and enters different contexts, different situations in the life of the customer. By being present and observing customer action and interacting with the customer, the actual troubles, passions and priorities of the customer appear clearer. Also, on the Safari, the interest goes beyond the segment of the customer’s life that relates directly to the product. By trying to learn what else the customer is busy with, apart from using our products, we can understand and even reinvent our role and involvement in the life of the customer.
Undertaking a Customer Safari is valuable for professionals who feel that they do not meet their customers frequently enough to understand enough about the drivers of their behavior. In all cases, however, Customer Safaris undertaken by seasoned sales-professionals have resulted in surprise and wonder on the part of sales. It appears that meeting a customer in a sales-mode is something different from encountering them in an exploration-mode.
The Customer Safari is divided into three parts:
In the first meeting, the Safari-members develop and agree on the questions to be researched and on the overall meaning of the change-process at hand.
Following the first meeting, the Safari continues in groups of three to four participants in the course of one to two weeks (in addition to the participant’s everyday workload) or as a highly focused and intensive one-day-event.
The final part of a Customer Safari is allocated for analysis and for designing and presenting suggestions for improved practices to management and/or other experts in charge of the topic/question.
In April 2014, the FutureWorks approach adapted for the Swedish media-group MittMedia was awarded the prestigious Global Innovation Award (Best in Europe) by INMA.
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