Who do business innovations serve? It’s important to ask yourself this question before you make even the most exciting changes. Sometimes, they may bring more benefits to one group more than another, whether that’s employees, customers, or shareholders.
Yet setting out to please your customers is not always as straightforward as it might seem. They don’t always know what it is that they genuinely want, sometimes identifying the wrong issue, or their suggestions may be so specific as to be hard to apply on a larger scale. That doesn’t mean their input isn’t useful. It’s just a matter of learning to interpret it and apply it based on the knowledge that you have about your business.
Input from Customers
It may seem obvious, but a surprising number of businesses overhaul their products, services, or processes in a way that substantially impacts the customer without ever finding out whether this is something that is desired. Some companies might argue that listening to customers in the past did not seem to lead to changes that were welcome, but one reason for this is often that companies often misunderstood how to use input. While it is valuable information, it is only one kind of information; it is not delivered with a knowledge of the full context regarding how the business is run and the other challenges it faces. To get that value, companies may want to consider changing how they look at these suggestions.
Problems Versus Solutions
The bottom line is that customers often suggest solutions that are impractical, do not really address the problem at hand or simply are not feasible for the business. These solutions are also often too narrow, addressing the one problem that the individual is having with a product or service without knowledge of the big picture. Companies would be better suited to instead identify the problem and come up with custom solutions that are better suited to their overall business model.
Customers concerned about sustainability might assume that reducing transportation altogether is the right move. However, with some research on sustainability for commercial transportation, you may find that greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs can be lowered while still keeping your fleet moving. Ultimately, when it comes to feedback, try to look at what the real concerns are, which is not necessarily what the proposed solution reflects.
Consider the Value
Another thing to keep in mind is what the proposed innovation will cost you, and the customer. You might be getting feedback about a change that would require the customer to pay more. In some cases, they might be willing to pay this higher price, but in other situations, they may balk at the increase. Cost is not just about the money spent either.
Does the innovation place a substantial burden on your staff? This is not necessarily a reason not to implement it, but you will need to weigh its value against that burden. Cost can also refer to a process that is more complex for users in some way, which may or may not be worthwhile depending on the outcome.