Blue Shirt, Green Shirt – or Stripes?

One day you’re out shopping, and you’re in the market for a green shirt.  You walk into a shirt store and make your request.  What would you do if the sales clerk responded that their store only makes and sells blue and red shirts?  All of their customers buy blue and red shirts, and blue and red shirts work best for everyone.  It’s too ridiculous to contemplate – you’d give the sales clerk a talking to, leave in a huff, and never return.

Now, I’m not saying that most sales clerks are uninformed.  Retail professionals know the current trends; they know color palettes, and they know what the hottest celebrities are wearing.  These details are all important.  Blue and red shirts probably work well for a lot of people.  But they don’t work for everyone.  Maybe you have green eyes, and you want your shirt to match them.  This is important to you!

Successful retailers, and other businesses, understand that their mission is to solve the customer’s problem, to meet his unique needs.  Sometimes, when it comes to technology, this concept gets pushed to the back burner.  Companies have an application that does wonders for many of their customers.  They get excited, thinking it’s going to solve all their customers’ problems, and they start to force-fit the solution to problems.

Those of us who work at technology companies can make an impact, sometimes a transformational impact, on how our customers do business.  For this to work, though, we need to let go of our technology a little and really listen to what the customer’s need is.  We need to adapt our applications to each customer’s situation and to make sure we are, in fact, solving his problem.   If you ever find yourself adapting the customer’s problem to make it a fit for your solution, you’re headed down the wrong path, and it won’t take your customers long to figure that out, leave in a huff, and never return. 

viiz recently encountered a situation where a customer wanted to deploy one of our software platforms.  This platform transformed the business of others, is user friendly and was purpose-built just for this application.  The catch?  The customer said that they wanted all of the platform’s benefits but wanted it to appear to users just like their legacy platform, in order to avoid training costs.  Some might see this request as wanting to purchase a Tesla but asking the car dealer to make the dashboard look like a 1973 Chevy Vega.  But the viiz team said: “ok”.

Because we took the time to really understand the customer’s unique situation, we understood that our existing application solved many of the customers’ problems such as: replacing a platform that was out-of-maintenance support, upgrading to current technology, reducing cost, and simplifying operations.  Additionally, our team recognized that training avoidance was an important need, so we adjusted our plan and customized the solution.

viiz strives to keep our corporate culture in “perpetual start-up mode”, and one of the benefits is that our team understands that we’re in a dynamic marketplace; our focus is always on our customers and on what we can do better, faster, and differently to support them in improving their business.

So, the moral of the story is: customize your solution to your customer’s need.  Don’t try to solve your customer’s need with a pre-fab solution.  When someone walks into your shirt store asking for a green shirt, make it happen.  Who knows, the next customer may even want stripes…

viiz is voice.