A Lesson for Business from TV Networks

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How do the TV networks gauge what they decide to provide for their customers, the viewers?  It is simple, they listen to their customers.  They regularly look at what their customers are watching and make changes based on the results.

The system is relatively straightforward.  Nielsen Media Research, the company that has become the de facto measurement service for the TV industry, looks at the viewing habits of a representative sample of the TV audience.  The more people watch certain programs, the more valuable those programs become to the investors (advertisers) and the more the TV networks can charge for ads during those shows.  The formula is clear and simple, more viewers means more investment which means continued production of that show, and it is all based on the wants and needs of viewers (customers).

Many businesses, on the other hand, spend a great deal of time figuring out ways to fit customers into their needs and wants rather than asking what customers really want and fitting the business to those things.  They have processes and systems that are not easy or friendly to customers.  They create policies to save their skin with little thought to how it impacts customers.  They sell products that have add-ons that cause customers to have to purchase things they don’t really need.  If business had to rely on ratings based on customers’ real needs like TV networks, many would be cancelled like so many TV shows.

Here are three things businesses can do to get better ratings and not get cancelled:

  1. Go out and talk to customers. Get to know them and what they really want and need.  And don’t do this once, do it regularly to make sure you are keeping up with their changing desires.
  2. Sell solutions that actually solve customer problems rather than pad the bottom line.
  3. Provide support that is easy to reach and that fixes issues without hassles and policies that marginalize customers (always keep in mind who is serving who).

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