6 questions for the self-reliant customer

Do we know what our customers really want? Today, there’s so many ways to find out, but are we asking the right questions?

One factor to consider in our questions is the self-reliant customer. They can never be fully self-reliant – they do need you. But, consider this…

A strategically driven not-for-profit recently had me facilitate a session on a new programme offering on financial literacy. We invited in a group of self-declared math-deficient learners. We were joined by folks from the field and the major sponsor, a bank.

The questions we asked them were very important, namely,

What are you most pleased about in your math skills?

On a scale of 1-10 where would you place yourself?

Suppose that number was to go up a little, what would you have learned?

How would that be useful to you and your employers, family, etc.?

When you received good training in the past, what did that look like?

Suppose you were getting tutoring on math skills, what would that look like?

Notice, the lack of discussion about the problems they faced.

With rich helpful answers based on their existing self-reliance and – importantly – the gaps that needed to be filled, we sent the learners out to further discuss their needs with the business professionals in the room.  The NFP team was able to immediate engage in asking questions about developing solutions for these ‘customers’. They knew where help was not needed and where it was.

What’s the key point? If we are going to ask people to change their behaviour we have to find out what they want, not what we tell them they need to fix.

Interestingly, as the math learners were about to leave, one of the group asked if they could stay and contribute to the planning session. They did.

Want to know more about this approach? As I say in my book, Fry the Monkeys – Create a Solution, ‘It’s about their resources for change’