3 Ways to Connect with Customers

Matt Harvey, Stanford University April 27, 2011

In all the excitement around creating a new product or starting a fresh company, even seasoned entrepreneurs can lose sight of the importance of connecting with customers. Maybe customers aren’t that interested in what you’re selling. Maybe your product doesn’t actually solve a problem they have. Maybe listening to customer feedback is the key to turning your ho-hum offering into a product they just can’t live without. To keep these very important people in the front of your mind, enjoy these excellent insights on connecting with your customers.

Use Technology to Enchant Customers

In the clip below, entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki explains how technology implementation affects a company’s ability to enchant customers. Kawasaki urges companies to “remove roadblocks” when it comes to helping customers interact with a product, and he also offers tips on the best types of interactions and information to offer to be successful in social media environments.

Acting on Customer Discovery

Customer feedback simply cannot be outsourced, according to serial entrepreneur Steve Blank. Here he shares an anecdote demonstrating the importance of speaking directly to customers. Blank recalls how an entrepreneur was forced to listen to customer needs and tried to alter his product accordingly. These changes turned single-digit sales into the thousands, and resulted in an eventual $400 million company sale.

Acquire Customers with the Right Model

Originally, Box.net customers were charged for online storage when they signed up with the company. However, CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Levie realized the opportunity to grow the customer base by lowering barriers to product adoption. In this clip, Levie describes the company’s successful implementation of the “freemium” business model, which not only increased their number of customers, but also served as a future differentiator from larger competitors.