One of my favorite quotes I’ve ever heard is “people have two ears but only one mouth for a reason, and it’s best to use them in that proportion”. The catch of the quote is genius – it seems pretty obvious but there lies an important message that is easy to ignore. To make it true in everyday life may not be that easy. Now you might wonder what does it have to do with augmented reality that is very much related to vision and seeing, and very little to ears and hearing (despite the hold for smartglasses)? Well, let me tell you.
I recently finished my MBA studies, and as a part of those, a master’s thesis in cooperation with Augumenta. As a person with no prior experience in AR or industry, but with a lot of experience in business and administration, I took a leap of faith as I accepted the assignment to find ways for improving Augumenta’s customer processes. And to add to the challenge, to include a strategic perspective into it.
As part of my thesis, I made a small customer research to find a deeper understanding of customers’ insights about the factors they value in interaction with a service provider, and in this case, with Augumenta. What I was aiming to find were – of course – areas for development but ended up finding very happy customers instead. Now, from a development point of view, this kind of result may not be exactly what one would be looking for, but from a potential future employee’s perspective, I was happy to verify the core strength that Augumenta carries. And that, my friend, is the ability to listen.
Strategy makes it true
Many scientific articles underline the importance of understanding customer’s needs in accordance to succeeding in business. One of the studies I waded through for my thesis suggested a strategic approach to customer relationship management as a means of success. The benefits for the customer would then be customization, simplicity, and convenience. Another study discussed the value creation approach as something to consider – especially in business-to-business both the customer and the provider benefit from information exchange as a way of developing shared plans and goals.
Backing up to where we started, listening. The way to understand a customer begins from listening to them. And not just listening but hearing as well. As my customer research showed, people seem to appreciate such skill, very highly, if I may add. More specifically, in this case, I found it is related to the attitude that was shown towards their problems and the willingness to find solutions for them. Especially one comment from a customer caught my attention as they said Augumenta had been the only one to actually hear out what the customer had to say.
All this is tied to strategic choices. From the very first moment I had anything to do with Augumenta, I noticed the discussion was very often about listening to the customers. This also came up in the strategy workshops I attended and the material I read. It said Augumenta wants to be not only a solution provider but, before anything, a companion to its customers.
Service spirit authenticity
To me personally, this finding is a very important one. When choosing a company to be a customer or an employer to, I pay great attention to the service spirit and the overall attitude towards customers. To me it is related to authenticity and sincerity – it tells a lot about the people who are working in the company, in other words, who would you be dealing with. The results of my research deliver an important message and tell me I’m into something good here.
By listening to the customer, one does not only make notions of the customer’s goals, wishes, and ways of thinking but at the same time send a very important, non-verbal message: a willingness to serve. And that is the core of everything. Take it from another study by Fisher et al. pointing it out just finely by stating “to serve instead of pursuing money is the key to success”. In my opinion, listening equals being willing to try to solve the customer’s problem and showing an authentic service spirit.
And what does it have to do with the proportion? Well, I’m happy to let you know that the Augumenta team knowing everything about AR technology not only knows what 2:1 means in mathematics but in relation to the usage of ears and mouth too. They’ve got it covered.
In case you want to read more about the studies mentioned, here’s the list:
- Fisher N.I., Kordupleski R.E. 2019. Good and bad market research: A critical review of Net Promoter Score. Appl Stochastic Models Bus Ind. 2019;35:138–151.
- La Rocca, A. 2014. Value creation and organisational practices at firm boundaries. Management decision 52(1), 2-17.
- Mendoza L. E., Marius A., Pérez M. & Grimán A. C. 2007. Critical success factors for a customer relationship management strategy. Information and software technology 49(8), 913-945.