LearnShareProsper logo Boosting Business_Performance Adele Sommers
by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
 www.LearnShareProsper.com Adele@LearnShareProsper.com 
In This Issue

December 2023
Volume 19, Issue 12

These are free monthly tips on boosting business and professional results.

Start your subscription!

To change subscription options, please see the bottom of the page.

Facebook logo Like us on Facebook!


Below find this month’s newsletter, hot off the press!

  • Feature Article: Are You Aiming Your Sights   at Your Customers’ Downstream Success?

Please add “Adele@LearnShareProsper.com” to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues.

You subscribed to this newsletter at LearnShareProsper.com. You’re very welcome to forward it to your colleagues; please just keep the entire message intact. If you wish to discontinue your subscription, please use the links at the bottom.

Note from the Author

How Do You Deliver on the Promises You Make?

Logos stating "Best price" and "100% guaranteed"
Promises, promises, promises...
As consumers, we find them irresistible, and they often give us a justification for trying something new!

Do you create products or services to sell to others? If so, have you considered that if you strive to always under-promise and over-deliver, you will inspire far greater confidence in your clients and customers, and delight them in ways that far surpass expectations? This is a far better outcome than what happens when your wares don’t comport with your words!

Why does this matter? Consider that trust is the currency of consumer decisions, and credibility and trustworthiness evaporate whenever we make promises we can’t keep.

In terms of advertised claims, promises, and guarantees, this means meeting or exceeding the stipulated delivery dates and times, service standards, quality levels, product features, performance speed, and so on. It’s also a great way to show that you’re aiming your sights at your clients’ or customers downstream success!

For all of these reasons, I hope you enjoy today’s features, and please be sure to share your thoughts by leaving your comments on my Facebook page!

Here’s to your business prosperity,

Adele Sommers, Ph.D., business improvement specialist, author, educator, and award-winning instructional designer

P.S. If you missed any previous issue, please visit the newsletter archive!

Special Message

Are You Gathering Direct Feedback from Your Audiences?

Man with a clipboard taking a poll
Are you “taking the temperature”
 of the people you serve? Engaging in regular “how are we doing?” dialogs can serve you well. If you ask clients or customers what they love and don’t love about your products, services, courseware, or systems, you’re inviting honest feedback that you can turn into loyalty-boosting improvements.

Why does this matter? Since customers frequently ignore surveys, incentivizing people to give feedback, except when they are very angry, can be challenging.

An alternative approach entails engaging in “tell us how we can improve” conversations, such as during routine transactions. By asking people for their candid comments — without becoming defensive — you can cement deeper relationships, as well as gain valuable ideas for increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Whatever issues come up, look and listen closely for:

  1. Immediate but basic problems that you can solve right away.

  2. Complaints of major malfunctions that must be analyzed and fixed ASAP.

  3. Gaps in the internal handoffs for converting prospects into customers.

  4. Customers or prospects wanting something that you don’t offer, which could ignite ideas for new offerings, accessories, and promotional campaigns. They might be telling you exactly what you need to know to spin off your next product release!
Feature Article

Are You Aiming Your Sights at Your
Customers’ Downstream Success?

by Adele Sommers

Do you strive to ensure that your customers attain their highest goals and aspirations? And in doing that, are you consciously considering the success of your customers’ customers, or even of your customers’ customers’ customers? Without a plan for producing an extended chain of satisfaction, you’ll run the risk of developing products, services, or customized solutions that might fill your coffers but not provide any significant or lasting benefits to others.

The way we approach our projects can influence our customers’ success. Too often, we myopically limit ourselves to deliver only the “first-line” requirements. In so doing, we think primarily about what our customers or clients asked for, even if it’s not the most suitable fit for their own — or their customers’ — intended needs.

Although it’s commendable to listen to what our customers want, it’s also possible to generate an incomplete or incompatible result based on superficial information. For that reason, this article offers three ways to adjust our project vision from “20:20 hindsight” to “20:20 foresight” in this regard.

1. Consult Your Client’s or Customer’s “Crystal Ball”

Woman consulting a crystal ballThis method involves more types of questions than you might normally ask about the downstream benefits that your product, service, or solution will deliver. It entails querying your clients or customers about the results they expect to see from the product, service, system, training program, or whatever your project will produce for them. Here are examples:

  • “Imagine the project results six months to a year after completion. What payoffs do you see for people in your organization? Describe the benefits in detail, as well as any limitations they might still be experiencing after everything is delivered.”
  • “Now imagine how your customers or clients will benefit in the same period. What improvements in your products and services do you believe you will be able to pass along to them from this project? Will those improvements significantly enhance your clients’ or customers’ situations? If not, where are the gaps in the picture?” This question should help pin down the downstream outcomes that your client or customer can envision.

2. Use the “Persona Interview” Approach

Woman using imaginationThis method is especially useful if your project entails developing offerings for mass consumption — where there is no specific client or customer to please. It can also, however, work extremely well when you are working with a client, to help pinpoint specific kinds of concerns and options that would not have been readily apparent.

With this technique, you begin by identifying a few imaginary characters known as “personas.” These characters represent typical consumers of the products, services, systems, Web sites, or courseware. Make your personas as realistic as possible by giving them names, ages, genders, professional or personal roles, friends, families, hobbies, educational backgrounds, and major challenges. Then, “talk” with them several times to see what you might learn.

These “interviews” often reveal new ideas and angles to consider. Once, I used this technique to “find out” how people might respond to a new information product I was planning to create. To my astonishment, one of my personas disclosed that she was taking advantage of the licensing program I had developed to allow others to teach the material. Up until that point, licensing had not even once crossed my mind — but you can be sure that I added it to my requirements list after that! This is a great example of how a downstream customer benefit can emerge in a persona interview.

Yes, these exercises do take some imagination. Once you start the process, however, you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn about the benefits — and any potential shortcomings — of a product, service, or made-to-order solution as defined by your initial assumptions.

3. Collect Input at Your Customer’s or Even Their Customers’ Sites

Interview checklistIn some situations, a customer or client may agree to have you interview people at their site, or possibly at one of their customers’ sites. This process can be considered part of an initial needs assessment, or research you conduct before upgrading your product or service. If you are providing an estimate for the project, you might even want to separate out this type of data-gathering into its own distinct phase.

When the possibility of onsite interviewing presents itself, the purpose is to learn from as many different sources as possible how people perceive the situation that has led to the request for a solution or to your ideas for an upgrade.

Using the information gathered in this phase, you might acquire several insights that will reshape the initial set of requirements the client had requested. This could be the case if you and your client ultimately determine that the requirements do not seem to address the client’s — or the client’s customers’ — needs in the very best possible way.

And if you observe your customers while they are using your offerings at their own facilities, it may be a real eye-opener to watch them try to install, set up, learn, interact with, and troubleshoot your product without having someone guide them through every step. If you had intended your products to be self-explanatory and simple to use, this kind of field trip could reveal several aspects in which they are not!

In conclusion, by using a variety of techniques to expose more of your clients’ and customers’ needs, you can pinpoint more completely the project, product, or service requirements. And by consistently emphasizing the downstream “chain of successes” that your customers and their customers will enjoy, you’ll create perpetual value for all who use your offerings or your final project results.

Copyright 2023 Adele Sommers

The Author Recommends

“Guide to Increasing Product & Service Value”

"Guide to Increasing Product & Service Value" by Adele SommersHave you been looking for ideas on how to design, develop, and test products and services that will turn your customers into raving fans? For example, are you mining the value in your customer database? Do you know how to increase the quality of your customers’ experiences to enhance and then cement your brand promise?

My award-winning Customer Success Kit addresses these and many other vital product and service topics.

This comprehensive report includes 49 pages of tips, best practices, checklists, and worksheets to help you produce superb offerings that your customers will love!

About the Author

"Straight Talk" Special Report
"Straight Talk" Workbook

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance” — an award-winning Special Report and Workbook program.

If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this down-to-earth overview of how 12 potent business-boosting strategies can reenergize the morale and productivity of your enterprise, tame unruly projects, and attract loyal, satisfied customers. It’s accompanied by a step-by-step workbook designed to help you easily create your own success action plan. Browse the table of contents and reader reviews on the description page.

Adele also offers no-cost articles and resources to help small businesses and large organizations accelerate productivity and increase profitability. Learn more at LearnShareProsper.com.

LearnShareProsper.com/Business Performance_Inc.,
705 North State Street #187, Ukiah, California, USA.

For more information, e-mail Info@LearnShareProsper.com.


©2023 Business Performance_Inc., Adele Sommers, All rights reserved. www.LearnShareProsper.com

Your feedback is always appreciated! Write to us at info@LearnShareProsper.com. We respect your privacy and do not give out or sell subscriber names or e-mail addresses.

Please use the links below to take yourself off our list or change your e-mail address.