Friday, July 24, 2009

Do You Know What Customers Care About?

Many times, we think we know what our customers care about, but we may be relying on "conventional wisdom" or "gut instinct" rather than cold, hard facts. According to G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón over at Business Week, major league baseball teams may be misguided in their understanding of why fans attend ballgames. Here is an excerpt from what Maddock and Viton wrote:

These same teams are, for the most part, relying on either outdated research approaches or "gut feel" to determine what fans want. And not surprisingly they are swinging and missing. Want proof? Consider some of our recent findings:

• Every sports executive we have ever met says the No. 1 thing fans want is a winning team. Fans rank it 11th when asked why they show up at a game.

• What the paying customers want most is a "fan friendly" environment, right? Nope. Fans rank it 6th in importance.

• Teams worry that their ticket prices are too high. Fans say cost ranks 7th when they are deciding whether or not to attend a game

Has your firm tested or validated its conventional wisdom regarding what customers care about most? Do disconnects exist between what you believe and what is actually true? What does this mean for your product and service offering? Every company should take a lesson from these interesting findings about major league baseball, and they should revisit some of the core assumptions that executives routinely making about their customers.

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