How a ride-along can speed innovation and sales

windshield speed ride alongWhat could you learn if you and your employees really rode along on your customer's journey?

It can definitely build your brand.

Here's how to learn more and get profits speeding ahead.

how do others really experience your brand?
After a recent hectic day of shopping, I stopped at a famous coffee shop for a pick-me-up. I wanted to make a stop in the ladies room and since I was alone, I had to take my coat, handbag and packages with me. As I entered the tiny, dimly-lit space, I searched in vain for a place to hang my coat. I wished for a countertop to park my parcels and I grumbled to myself: I wish the architect of this establishment would have to try out this restroom like I am right now. (Yes, it was a curse.)

It got me thinking about how customer experiences everywhere are often goldmines waiting to be discovered—if someone digs. Brands can be greatly improved by simply creating a route to help them journey into the unknown.


Don't just ask your customers. Observe them in action.


some concrete examples

If you manufacture and sell durable medical equipment, have you ever gone into a person’s home to see how she uses it? If you did, 4 things might happen:

  1. You’d observe some opportunities for product improvements that help customers and distance your brand from the competition.
  2. You’d (hopefully) have even greater pride in the work your company does as you see how it changes another person’s life.
  3. You’d have empathy and a stronger sales presentation, smarter marketing materials and better trained employees.
  4. You’ll increase sales and profits.

Hit the pavement!walk in the customers shoes

  • Go visit your customer in his factory to see how his product is made.
  • Attend a trade show and observe how he responds to his competition.
  • Shadow along on some sales calls.

Find out his challenges, wins and losses and what happens in his business on a daily basis.

Walk in his shoes and I guarantee you’ll be better positioned to offer him services he really needs—not just what you think he needs. And yes, you will both increase sales and profits


Now that you have the idea, plan how you will apply this concept to your industry. 


include employees on this trip

This exercise isn’t just for you. Now that you’ve seen the potential ROI, get your employees involved, too. Send them on ride-alongs with:

  • customers
  • employees in other departments
  • suppliers

Create a forum for employees to share what they’ve learned through your intranet, staff meetings and other gatherings.

Soon, a new perspective can spread throughout your entire organization. A culture of innovation and action will prevail. Profits will naturally race ahead.

If you need help developing a ride-along initiative, call Martha Bartlett Piland at 785.969.6203

Tags: employee training, employee engagement, training, customer research, sales development, product innovation, brand development, culture

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