Walking in Our Customers’ Shoes

When: October 12, 2018
Where: High Wycombe
Who: Hunts Office
Miles travelled: 1,852
Track of the Day: Tourne Dans Le Vide – Indila

Never Assume

Lately, I’ve been listening to the audiobook from Moz CEO Rand Fishkin, ‘Lost and Founder.’ In it, he shares an interesting experiment that he ran back in 2013. For a full week, Fishkin traded professional lives with a founder of Sierra Interactive Will Reynolds. They lived in each other’s apartments, answered each other’s emails, and effectively ran each other’s companies. In this unique position, they could see their companies through the customers’ eyes, experience their pain points, and feel their struggles. Fishin says since then he tries to ‘never assume’ — his product updates and produced content all come directly from customer’s feedback or raised questions.

While I might not be taking over our customers’ houses, on this tour I still get to walk in their shoes. There are some things that you would never get from an email, a phone call, or a web form. How is our platform actually being used? What features work for our customers best and which ones they haven’t even tried? What puzzles them and how can we make them more productive? You only get these insights by sitting by your customers and watching them use your product. In the case of Hunts Office, for 6 productive hours.

From Truck Deliveries to Interior Designs

Hunts Office supply independent office furniture, as well as offer interior design consultancy. Back when I was an Engineer, I visited my company’s German office. Half of the team was working sitting down and half — standing up. The Rolls Royce of desks — Steelcase — allowed them to adjust the height of their desk with a push of a button. I remember thinking that this was a great way for an engineer to change the perspective and roll up the sleeves. Hunts Office still supply these desks today.  

The Sales Director of the company, John Page, emanates a positivity that creates a friendly work environment and a happy team. A real Londoner at heart and of Irish descent, John shared some brilliant stories. One of them was about the creation of the company itself.

The founder of Hunts Office, Egon Hunt, started out as a furniture delivery driver in 1991. At one stage, he delivered the furniture to an office and was asked to dispose of the old furniture for free. Following his entrepreneurial hunch, Egon sold the old furniture — and made more money than he did from a month of deliveries. The business was born. Soon enough, the second-hand furniture gave way to the new one, the team grew with interior designers, and the client list expanded to the companies like Honda, NFL, and Jimmy Choo.

Break It or Make It

John’s stories didn’t end with the company’s throwback. His own story is even more cinematic.

John comes from the ‘Big Era’ of sales. At 20, he took on the ultimate challenge — selling 3M photocopiers. The competition was fierce, the clients — tough, and you could only rely on your own skill, charm, and persistence. It’s a baptism by fire for salespeople.

According to John, on one of his very first sales calls, the client he was supposed to meet told him, in non-PC terms, to get lost. When John’s manager asked how this reaction made him feel, John said, ‘I want to go back and sell to this guy.’ His sales resilience paid off and, eventually, he did make that sale and marked it with a classic celebratory jump outside of the client’s building…. Only to look back and see that very client giving him a thumbs-up through the office window. 

John expects the same level of commitment and dedication from his sales team. When deciding to implement OnePageCRM, he wanted to ensure it was used by the whole team. So he put it in very simple terms. If you are on a nice little vacation and a call comes through from one of your leads, unless the contact is updated in OnePageCRM, the deal goes to the one who answers the phone. Needless to say, the conversion rate was 100%.

Through Their Eyes

The 6 hours I’ve spent at Hunts Office are worth a hundred customer surveys and feedback forms.  I got a chance to see and feel what they do. I saw our system through the eyes of a sales director, external sales team, internal sales support, and marketing.  

Something that might seem obvious to me just because I’m so used to it isn’t necessarily the first choice for a customer. Assuming that I know what works best for them can actually backfire.

This tour gave me the chance to be there to show our customers how to make the best of our product and become more efficient. I got to see the actual difference it makes.

Thank you, John, David, and all of the Hunts Office team, for giving me an opportunity to walk in your shoes for this productive day. It was a pleasure meeting you all and, John, thanks for the stories! 

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