Looking for business innovation? Ask your customers.

One of the worst habits we get into from time to time is trying to come up with solutions for problems we think exist. The problem with this type of approach is that you don’t really know if the end user, your customer, actually needs the solution.

The best approach is a rather simple one – ask your customers.

You’ll want to look for a couple specific things. First, ask them for their suggestions about how to improve your business, products or services. They are the ones that have the “real world” experience with your business.

Second, there’s a broader category of feedback that you should be looking for called their stereotypes. These aren’t solutions or recommendations. They look more like this:

  • “Most grocery stores are too big.”
  • “Industry X’s websites look the same.”
  • “No matter which electronic store I choose, the service is always slow.”
  • “It doesn’t matter which airline I select; all of them seem to screw up my luggage.”

You are looking for broader, industry specific feedback. This is great information to have at your disposal because it presents you with prime opportunities to stand out in consumers’ minds.

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