Sometimes the best way to find out what a customer wants is to give them the chance to tell you.

I was very struck today by an article in a local London paper, the Islington Tribune, on the special customer service award given to a local corner shop. The article describes how friendly and polite the shop-keepers at Arsenal Food and Wine are. But what really stands out is one very radical step they have taken. Wait for it… Owner Ozzy has adopted a habit of asking customers which products they would like to see on the shelves, and then ordering them.

Imagine, asking your customers what they want! It is an act that seems so stunningly obvious, you would imagine everybody would do it. But have you ever been asked in a shop which products you would like to see on the shelves? Since reading the article, I have been racking my brain to think of any time when this has happened to me and I can’t think of one. There are shops I’ve gone in several times a week for over a decade and never been asked if there is anything else I’d like them to sell.

But that is the simple strategy that Ozzy has adopted. He asks his customer what they want to see on the shelves and then makes sure he gets it and puts it there. You too could try this radical idea: Ask your customers what they want and then give it to them.

If you are interested in creating great customer experiences then read about our Creating Customer Delight course.

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