4 Things you might learn as an undercover customer in your business

Cat Williams-Treloar
14 September

If you were to walk in your customers’ shoes today – what might you discover about the current experience? Well, provided you’re brave enough to check, here are four things you might notice about your business:


1. Hide & Seek


If your business is in a “hide and seek” situation, it might seem a lot like a maze to your customers. Imagine if you asked your customers to navigate your business while blindfolded, and without a tour guide. You might know and understand it intimately, but for a customer who has just arrived and wants to make a decision, it’s an extra leg of travel they didn’t come prepared for.

How to tell if your business is in a 'hide and seek' situation: 

  • Are prospects able to find your business easily when they search for it online? Or do they have to search far and wide? 
  • Does your content give prospects the information they need, or do they have to spend their time hunting for what they’re looking for?
  • Is it easy for your customers to make contact with you — in one click or a call? Or do they need to fill out a form, and then wait 48 hours before they’re sent a semi-automated ticket?
  • Is everyone in your business capable of making a decision? Or do customers get passed around from one staff member to another looking for answers?

Have you taken the time to map out the customer journey your prospects take and looked at how they make decisions at key points? Perhaps different parts of your business are responsible for different phases of the journey and aren’t connecting effectively. It’s also possible that company politics could be getting in the way here.

2. Disconnected Body & Tail


A disconnected body and tail situation arises when customer experience is inconsistent or disconnected. Imagine asking three different people in a business the same question and getting three different answers. Or worse, imagine if two different parts of your business come across as having two entirely different cultures. Chances are that it wouldn’t inspire too much confidence in their company — and your customers will feel the same way if they have a similar experience.

How to know your business has a disconnected body and tail:

  • Do you have a well-defined company vision & culture? Is everyone in the business focusing in the same direction? Does this connect at all points in the customer experience?
  • Is your company’s focus on the outside or the inside of the business? If it’s all about competition & internal focus, it quite likely means you aren’t spending enough energy on the customer.
  • Are KPIs visible & connected from one end of your business to the other? Do different departments’ KPIs link? Or is everyone running their own race?
  • Do employees talk about what’s going on inside the business? Are significant initiatives shared? Is there enough visibility on what’s happening throughout the business? Are people given enough information and permission to connect the dots?

Company silos and limited communication across teams often lead to disconnected body and tail situations. A lot of the time, this is because the focus is on the internal politics and processes of the business rather than its customers, and the customer experience hasn’t been mapped out sufficiently.

3. Computer Says No

Have you thought about what it’s like to be a customer requesting something from your business? A “computer says no” situation arises when your business’s default response to a customer’s enquiry, be it big or small, is ‘no’. Not ‘no, and here’s why.’ either – just a straight, short and sharp N-O. Imagine being a customer wanting to engage in a conversation about feedback or an idea you’ve had, and not being listened to. How likely would you be to come back? 

How to spot a “Computer says no” situation:

  • Are “can’t”, “won’t” and ”don’t” your staff’s most frequent responses to customer questions? Do your staff feel confident trying new things, or is there a lot of ‘the last guy tried that and got fired’?
  • Are people rewarded for solving problems or hiding problems?  
  • Are people allowed to fail and encouraged to learn from their experiences?
  • Are you agile enough to handle unexpected situations as they arise, or is it all about following one single process or magic formula?

Not every client is a perfect fit, and it’s impossible (and ill-advised) for any business to say yes to everything. But if this happens often, your company culture may not encourage creativity, problem solving and continuous improvement.

4. The Smiling Assassin 


I like to think of this type of culture as the ‘anti-human’: where people pretend to listen to customer concerns and then parrot some corporate nonsense back to them, often including  a list of reasons why it’s too hard to change.  Imagine genuinely wanting to form a relationship and connect with a business – and when you do, you realise that all the amazing messaging that inspired you was nothing more than empty, fake marketing.

Do you have a lot of ‘red tape’ and HR policy in your organisation? Are processes and regulations stifling the pulse of your business? Remember, it’s the human beings in your organisation that keep your business running, so they should never come second.

How to check whether your business has any of these problems


1. Walk it.

 Nothing beats walking in your customer’s shoes and going through the experience yourself. Put yourself in a learning mindset. If you’ve been looking at your business consistently it will be difficult to notice the things that make it a poor experience, so make sure to approach this with an open mind. 

2. Listen.

 Are you listening to your customers go through the experience?  Are you asking for customer feedback? If your customer knows they’re being heard, they’ll be more likely to see your business as one who understands and cares about their views. 

3. Act.

 What actions are you taking on the feedback you get from your customers? Does feedback come through regularly and go all the way to the top? Or does it only get escalated if there is an extreme issue?

Humanisation helps brands form real human connections with their customers. If you’d like to know more about how we can help, get in touch directly today. 

Cat Williams-Treloar founded Humanisation, a Human-Centered Marketing Consultancy. Humanisation was born to help startups make a human impact in a digital world as they Go-To-Market across APAC.


Read more about Humanisation & our why here, or get in contact with Cat@Humanisation.com

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