Want senior stakeholder buy in? Give your customers a seat in the boardroom
Senior stakeholder management is crucial to the delivery of a successful project. You can have the best comms, incredible diplomacy skills and expert planning skills.
But if you’re faced with a number of conflicting stakeholder opinions, the project direction can suddenly be compromised. This can be mitigated in a number of ways, but we’ve seen a lot of success by doing one simple thing: invite your customers to take a seat at the boardroom table.
Your quantitative data can be telling you one story, but when you have a number of customers repeating the same issues and challenges, it’s hard to argue with what the priority should be.
‘So when should we get the customer in?’ I hear you ask.
You should consider getting customer views at every stage of your project. No matter how far along you find yourself in the process, from writing the initial brief to having pushed the ‘go-live button’, you can get your customers to help optimise your product in a number of ways:
A good discovery should capture both business and customer needs — and this can only be achieved by going out and speaking to your customers. From testing existing messaging to UX, we use a variety of tools & methods that allow us to observe natural customer behaviours when interacting with your (or your competitor’s) product. From this research, we gather and draw out customer requirements to then prioritise them based on an evidence count.
Prototyping & testing
As part of our process, we build interactive prototypes to put in front of your customers. This should give you the confidence that what we’re building is delivering on the objectives set out. The prototyping stage minimises risk around development by allowing us to continually iterate and test in the design phase.
Want to improve on what you already have? Whether you want to develop a new stream of revenue, improve self-service, or provide your customers with new customer service channels, look at your data and test your hypothesis through A/B testing.
Empathising with your customers, understanding their needs and relating to them on a personal level should give you clear direction on what you should be doing next — whether that’s improving a product, the customer experience or looking to innovate.
One last tip- make sure you record what your customers have to say to easily play it back to key decision-makers within the wider organisation. When you’re being challenged, pressing that ‘play’ button and presenting a series of good client quotes makes it that much easier for you to convince the group.