A Satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all
– Michael LeBoeuf
Business- Entities that serve its customers. Through either a product or service, a business is meant to provide solutions to its customers’ needs or problems. It would be safe to say that customers are central to the existence of a business. So, if customers are central to its existence, it would be safe to say that businesses understand clearly what their customers want and address them, right? Well, that’s where things don’t stack up. With millions of businesses around the world, very few, in fact less than 10% actually understand what their customers’ needs are.
I once called a tradesperson in to assemble a wall cabinet in our study and mount it to the wall. I had received a quote beforehand from his office with regards to the job. The tradesperson completed the assembly job, but then refused to mount the cabinet to the wall. The reason he cited was that this was outside his designated scope of work, and I had to call another handyman from his office who would do wall mounting jobs. Now, this was something I had not accounted for and came to me as a surprise. Not only did I lose out on time, as there were now 2 jobs instead of 1, I was potentially looking at higher costs to complete the installation. Luckily, there was no extra charge. However, the other handyman couldn’t come in until 2 days later, so I had a half-finished job that couldn’t be completed any sooner.
Had I been advised of 2 handymen required for the job when receiving the quotation, I could have planned both jobs to be completed one after the other, on the same day itself. Which meant I could have used the wall cabinet sooner. Add to that, the unnecessary arguments and going back and forth with the trades office. Needless to say, the experience left a sour taste for me. As a customer, I felt I wasn’t heard. After I settled down, I reflected on the whole episode and wondered “Did the trades office really understand what I wanted?” For me, the whole reason for getting the furniture assembled was to save time. The job would be completed quicker, and I could use the cabinet sooner than if I were to do the assembly myself. Which, clearly didn’t happen.
Ok, end of my rant. However, consider this: Here is one example of a business which didn’t quite hear or understand their customer. When you consider examples of many more businesses that fail to do so, for more complex requests, you almost get a perception that as a customer, you are pretty much bound for disappointment. Fortunately, things aren’t that bad actually. How so? Well, keep reading on..
What if there was a way for a business to understand their customer’s expectations? That increases the odds of customers walking out of a business feeling good about the experience they’ve just had. There are businesses that excel in knowing their customers needs, and that trend is catching on across the world as more and more businesses look to model what works for successful businesses. With this article, I’ll be sharing 3 such strategies that you can easily follow to have greater awareness of what your customers want and set your venture up for greater success as you start gaining more and more loyal customers.
1. Define your client avatar:
As a business, it is critical that you understand who your target market or client avatar is. Why is it important to do so? By defining your client avatar, you work out what their demographics are, what problems do they face that your business can solve, what expectations do they have, what is it they want. As you work that out, you almost read the mind of your customer. That enables you to provide solutions to your customers which absolutely suits their needs, without them having to articulate it. That’s when you exceed expectations of customers and voila, your customers are delighted!
Defining your client avatar not only enables you to serve your customers efficiently, but also enables you to attract them as you market your business as the answer to their needs.
Has your business defined its client avatar? Do you refer to it consistently, thereby knowing what they want?
2. Track your Customer Experience in your business:
How good is the customer experience when they deal with you? Does your business process make it easy for them or do they need to go through a series of steps before they get what they want? Are there any gaps in the process where the customers interact with you or your staff? Sometimes, businesses define processes for customer interaction without actually tracking how their experience is. These gaps are effectively blind spots, which means you could have dissatisfied customers, without you actually realising it!
Businesses that excel in customer service and do well generally have a clear idea of how their business processes work, and they literally put themselves in their customers’ shoes and look for any ‘blind spots’ to be addressed. Are you aware of any blind spots in your business? How do you track customer experience when they do business with you?
3. Ask for Feedback:
If reading your customers’ minds seems like a stretch to you, you can simply ask what they think! We all rely on healthy and constructive feedback to grow, and how awesome would it be to get inputs from the horse’s mouth? By being asked for feedback, the customers feel that they are a part of your process, and their opinions matter. When you give your customers significance, they reciprocate and share their thoughts and feedback. A bit of significance goes a long way in building strong, functional relationships with them. Not just that, by asking for feedback, you show a commitment to make improvements to serve them better. So at the end of the day, you asking for feedback is something that eventually helps the customers.
Does your business have a process of asking for feedback? How often do you seek feedback? How diligently is the feedback implemented?
To summarise, customers are central to the existence of any business. The ones that do well work very closely with their customers and ensure they are across their wants and needs. This gives the customers a compelling reason to go back for more good service. And that’s a sure sign that your business is growing.
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Arpan Roy is a Leadership Consultant and Trainer. His key belief is that leadership is vital for growth of any business. Through Arman Consultancy, his business venture, he collaborates with leaders in businesses to define productivity and profit to achieve accelerated business growth. He specialises in various methodologies such as Values Pendulum®, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Deep State Repatterning®. Using these, he identifies the cause of unrealised individual performance and business growth and creates effective and sustainable models for change that empower his clients to achieve the desired results. Arpan is based in Melbourne, Australia with his wife Manasee, who is also his business partner. If you are curious about how you can enhance your leadership to make a difference to your business or organisation, you can contact Arpan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.blueprintforleadership.com