In any organisation it's easy to get caught up in internal issues and lose sight of trends in the market. The customers’ perspective is often the very opposite. It is vitally important organisations look through their customers’ eyes. The outside-in perspective is a systematic approach to rethinking your business from the customers’ point of view.

Keep in touch with the world of the customer

All our working lives are taken up being busy with our businesses. The problems and goals of the organisation crowd in every day. Focusing on internal problems and goals is necessary, but also dangerous. Organisations too easily forget to keep in touch with the world of their customers and risk becoming out of touch.

Insurance against a changing market

Adopting an outside-in approach can be seen as a business insurance policy. It reduces the risk that the market changes without you knowing it. It also prevents you from suddenly finding yourself left behind a more agile competitor or missing a trick that could have created or saved millions. An outside-in perspective gives a business valuable insights in the same way that a guide book to a foreign city helps increases your ability to make the most of a visit.

Insurance against a changing market
The customer is the only one that is confronted with the stacks of paperwork coming from dealing with multiple organisations at the same time

Understanding customer problems

In businesses, awareness is the first step to change. An outside-in view helps businesses become aware of customer problems and sets the path towards solutions. A good outside-in perspective involves asking; ‘what are the actors and factors influencing our customers?

For a European energy company outside-in questions helped them realise that regulatory changes were causing increased customer churn. The questions also helped to explore solutions.

Impact of actors on the customer experience

Mapping actors against the customer lifecycles shows when and where each one of the actors in the market has influence. It also reveal service gaps in the market where actors are not serving customers.

Spotting opportunities for innovation

Understanding customers and the world they live in enables businesses to identify unmet customer needs. Understanding of the customers’ world is a great source of new ideas and helps create value in the customer relationship. To really understand the customers’ world, it is important to ask; ‘what is the customer doing and what is relevant to their life and work?’ Asking this question consistently reveals new revenue or more business opportunities.

Understanding your customers’ perspective

Taking time to really see the organisation as customers see it and understand from the outside-in should be seen as one of the core activities of business. Knowing and understanding the actors and factors that drive customers’ behaviour in invaluable. Organisations that embrace an outside-in perspective are the ones that adapt and thrive.

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