Customer Focus Eliminates Waste
Recently, my wife had an experience with supplier that wasn’t focused on us as a customer and it created great waste for the supplier.
The shop was low on a particular candle that we buy from a local handmade supplier. The product is great and it sells really well. My wife emailed the owner to order more candles. In the email, she asked if the owner could send a list of spring related scents as we phase out the holiday related scents, so we could pick out what we think our customers would like.
We didn’t hear from the owner for about a week or more. Then the owner shows up with the candles we ordered plus three new spring scents. We didn’t like one of the scents. We said we wouldn’t take that one and discussed other possibilities to choose from. A different scent was picked and a few days later the owner returned with the new scent.
When the issue of not responding was brought up to the owner, the reply was they were so concerned that we needed the candles right away that they just made them as quick as possible and brought them over. My wife explained that we don’t need things immediately, especially after the holidays and if there is ever any question to just ask.
The owner wanted to please us, but didn’t focus on what was truly important to us which is the scent selection. The owner ended up causing waste of defects/rework (making new candles she hadn’t made), waiting (us waiting longer to get the order filled) and transportation (driving to our store twice).
Have you or your company ever rushed a product or service to market because YOU thought that was what the customer needed and then if failed? What were you focused on?
If you aren’t sure what your customer needs are…ask. Be clear and focus on what they need, not what you think they need.