Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

You are here

Case Study: What Is The Job The Customer Needs Done?
Patrick Sharry
What the customer asks for initially might not be what they actually need. Your job is to understand the customer’s real need and offer a solution for their problem, says Patrick Sharry.

What the customer asks for initially might not be what they actually need. Your job is to understand the customer’s real need and offer a solution for their problem, says Patrick Sharry.

At the heart of running any successful business is one key question: What is the job that the customer needs done? When we teach this concept in business schools, we often use an example from a hardware store.

THE HARDWARE EXAMPLE

What Is The Job The Customer Needs Done?

The person who walks in and asks for a drill probably doesn’t want a drill – they want a hole! What the customer originally asks for might not be what they really need. Through effective questioning and careful listening, we can understand the customer’s real need and offer a solution that delivers the outcome that matters to them. If they really need a hole, maybe they also need drill bits, eye protection and perhaps screws to complete the project? We can then take this story to another level.

Hilti is a global company that produces specialised, high-quality construction equipment. It is particularly famous for its drills. Hilti realised that many of its customers in the construction industry were using highly specialised tools to do specific tasks, but only needed these tools occasionally. These tradespeople were not really interested in owning the tools, they were more focused on the outcomes that the tools produced.

As they moved from job to job, these tradespeople needed lots of different specialised tools for different tasks. They appreciated the quality of the Hilti equipment but didn’t really want to spend the money to own a wide range of specialist tools.

Furthermore, owning a large number of tools meant a large ongoing spend on maintenance.

By understanding the real needs of the customer, Hilti was able to change its offering in a way that produced better outcomes – for its customers and for the business.

Hilti set up a system whereby construction companies could lease the tools as they needed them. The tools always arrived on time and in perfect condition. The construction workers got the outcomes they needed – the precisely drilled holes and cut steel – without the hassle and expense of ownership overheads and maintenance.

APPLYING IT TO PHARMACY

“The more you engage with customers through effective questioning and careful listening, the better placed you will be to deliver the best possible health outcomes for customers.”

As healthcare professionals, you don’t sell drills, but you should be very interested in the same question that drove Hilti - what is the job the customer really needs done? If you understand that, you can often provide a more complete solution.

The more you engage with customers through effective questioning and careful listening, the better placed you will be to deliver the best possible health outcomes for customers.

That might be through the provision of a more complete solution as in our hardware shop example, or through offering an alternative model for delivering the outcomes as Hilti did. Either way, you will end up with happier and healthier customers.