Actions lead to answers

Collegewise is getting ready to roll out some new offerings within our programs. Not new services—we’re still doing all college counseling, all the time. But we’ll be adding new versions of how many hours people can buy with a counselor, how many applications we’ll assist with, and how much total time a customer will spend engaging with us. One issue of debate which has taken a surprising amount of time has been what to name each of these new suites of services.

When asked to weigh in, my feedback was:

  • Don’t pick something confusing.
  • Don’t pick something our counselors or our particular customers will feel silly saying out loud.
  • Don’t worry too much about this—we can always change it if it doesn’t work.
  • And most importantly, don’t assume that we know the answer.

The truth is that we won’t know anything until we put the new offerings with the new names in front of potential customers. They get to decide with their conversations and their pocketbooks.

Will they even care what the names are? Will they be confused by them? Will the names change their likelihood of buying or telling a friend about what they’ve bought? Will this help or hurt our business? Will any of this matter at all?

We can debate all we want to. We could ask people in our lives or hire a firm to set up focus groups. And none of it would be anywhere near as useful as just testing it and seeing what the decider—the customer—does.

When you’re inside your own business, school, organization, etc., it’s almost impossible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes who’s outside of it. Rather than guessing, debating, focus-grouping or otherwise trying to predict what those outsiders will do, just make the choice. Then let them tell you through their decisions whether you made the right call.

Their actions will point you towards the right answer.