Asking your customer what they want
The business world is full of turns of phrase about customer service, many of which have been around a long time. The “customer is always right” comes to mind, and it’s often misinterpreted as meaning that each individual customer has a specific right to whatever service they believe they’re entitled to receive. But you’re better served framing the customer in the abstract, as the collective group of people that make up your entire customer base. The saying should probably go “The customer base is always right” but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
And to understand your customer base, you need to ask what it is they want. This sounds simple, just ask them what they want, and then do that, right? But the difference between having an impersonal, transaction-based relationship with your customers, versus engaging them with a human connection, and fostering brand loyalty, is how you interpret their wishes, and still surprise them on delivery.
That’s where the magic in the creative process happens, in taking someone’s wants and needs, and creating something that fills both of those categories in an unexpected, and surprising way.
Just remember, if you’re going to exceed someone’s expectations, it’s pretty important to clearly define what those expectations are first!