Does She Know the Secrets of Maximum Customer Experience?

At VisionPoints, we are huge believers in getting outside Perspective on your business. Plans, individual projects, and all aspects of completed Experience Design deserve a cold, hard look from a disinterested party—someone who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe understanding of and passion for your Vision.

Don’t get me wrong. I love your Vision (well, I would if I knew it), and I am the biggest believer in you and your staff being completely immersed in that Vision. It’s just that for you, it’s hard to imagine that anyone doesn’t “get it,” right?

Enter: Your Mom.*

When you were six, she was never afraid to tell you that your fly was undone. You need that more than ever right now. Tell her you’re a big kid and you can handle it. She does not have to like what you offer, whether it’s wine or camping supplies or Internet games or retirement communities. If necessary, tell her you know she’s not your target market, but you want her to try to think like [insert Ideal Customer profile here].

Do not prep Mom too much: She doesn’t know your company workings, just like potential customers do not know you. See? Fresh eyes.

At some point you’ll need professional Perspective, but maybe you’re not at that stage. Okay, then bite that bullet and call Mom, because you need a direct, in-person audit of your Customer Experience.

What Mom’s Going to Audit

Your company’s name

Business concept—Idea and execution

Look and comfort of your physical space (Signage, exterior, interior…)

Look and usability of your Internet presence (Website, blog, other…)

Look and feel of your logo and graphic materials (Yes, how your business cards, stationery, brochures, menus actually feel as well as how they look)

Service and other human interactions (On telephone, in person…)

What she’s seen, read, or heard about the company (not from you)

How would she search for [what she thinks you offer—no prompting with keywords!] on the Internet if she had a need, and does she find you? How long does it take her to find you (without actually typing in the company’s name)?

Mom’s Deliverables

Her understanding of what your company does or provides (Just a few sentences, no more)

Her quick impressions (first thoughts) and final (considered) thoughts on each audit point above

Does Mom think your company is Remarkable—worth talking about?

An easy way to achieve this, without making Mom do a write-up, is just to hook her up to a mic with a portable recorder. Record Mom thinking out loud to herself, to a staff member, or to you as she goes through this process. (For the service audit if your staff doesn’t recognize Mom let her walk around on her own, because—I hope—they do recognize you and will probably treat her differently knowing she’s the boss’ mother.)

Your Takeaways

Does she understand the company?

Can she make use of the company? (Find you on the Internet, find your office or store, make an appointment/reservation/order, find what she’s looking for in the store, get fabulous service… etc.)

How does she think the idea(s) will catch on?

Any other thoughts? Let Mom be free-form here: any thoughts may help you focus your direction

*You had to ask: “Why Mom?” It appears there is heated debate about the phrasing of The Mom Test. I knew I didn’t invent it, so I did a search on Yahoo!, and let’s just say there are believers in the phrase(more believers), and non-believers. Much of the discussion centers on the use of the term in the tech industry, where “ask Mom,” to some, is akin to making sure a caveman can do it.

I do not think your Mom is an idiot or a newbie. I do not want you to ask her because she is old, or female, or out-of-touch in any way. I do not know if your Mom is any of these things.  Loyal readers may know that I am a mom myself. I want you to ask Mom because 99% of mothers will not turn you down, like a buddy might; they will put 110% concentration into it, if you make sure you work it into Mom’s busy schedule; and (after you remind them a few times not to sugar-coat) most can give you the truth straight-up, with love and without an agenda. Remember your fly, the tag sticking out on your shirt, the time when she helped you finish your science project at midnight? Mom spots the littlest things, she knows how to pitch in, and she’s not afraid to be blunt, in a good way. For many people, Mom is their most Trusted Advisor.

Can your Dad do this? Yup. Give him the same tasks and he’ll be great. (Even if he thought burping was funny when you were growing up. He won’t think it’s funny when your staff does it.)

Your Mom wants you to succeed. The Mom Test is an audit that can help your company spot opportunities to improve your Customer Experience.

Have you used The Mom Test before? How did that external Perspective help your firm?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson