The Inner Customer exists in everyone. It’s the side the customer we can’t see from the outside, and can’t fully satisfy because we don’t know it well enough. It stands for the deep-seated emotional needs of customers that we overlook, misread, or lack the skills to understand.
This void restrains our ability to build enduring bonds and lasting happiness. Enduring connections come from fulfilling the deep-seated needs of customers. Not just their surface needs, the functional requirements all companies compete to satisfy, but the deep human longings that drive their choices. If you ask customers they won’t tell you what those needs are; often they don’t know. Existing methodologies all focus on understanding the observable needs of customers (their outer needs), but are inadequate to reveal their inner needs.
Inner needs are not observable from the outside-in. They are only accessible from the inside-out. Uncovering them requires a different set of skills. The Inner Customer offers a breakthrough method to help practitioners make a radical connection with customers, and explore their needs from the inside out.
Inner needs matter because they resonate with the limbic brain, the part of the human brain responsible for processing feelings and making decisions (with the reptilian brain). Whereas outer needs resonate with the neocortex, the part of the brain responsible for processing logic. This distinction is critical because we know customers do not make decisions based on logic alone. Emotions play an essential role in the “buy”, “keep” or “discard” decision.
Great designers and highly-intuitive entrepreneurs (like Steve Jobs) have the ability or emotional IQ to perceive the hidden needs of customers that are invisible to others. But to date this capability has been limited to a small number of intrinsically skilled individuals. The Inner Customer is a pragmatic method to help everyone within an organization, regardless of role, get inside the mind of the customer in a radically empathetic way, and discover the emotional triggers that fuel satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Applied across an organization, the Inner Customer allows companies to unite teams around the customer, and deliver outcomes that anticipate desires and deepen engagement.