The customer, the most important person in your business. Without them, your business isn’t going to get far.
Do you have a complete understanding of your customer? If you can really get under their skin, know them inside and out, you will encourage repeat business and ideally, business recommendations.
Let the sales come to you.
It makes sense to ensure that you are doing everything to understand your customer. Customers currently have more understanding and control thanks to the developments in social media and price comparison sites, so you need to work a little harder.
How to understand your customer.
Creating a customer first mentality isn’t hard but it does take commitment and time. Once you have that understanding, you can market your product or service appropriately.
There are three main ways to do this…
- Walk a mile in their shoes
- Talk to the customer and ask what they think
- Collect and interpret data to look at buying history and predict future moves
Become the customer
The proverb is true: you can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. You can take this to a deeper level and use this tool to really get a clear understanding.
Spend time in the customers workplace, what is the environment like? From the décor to wall art, how does the business feel? What is the culture? Getting into the customers own space is critical in developing understanding. Give them your time and in return you will gain a stronger comprehension of how to market your solution to them to grow your own business. Often, as busy people, we can shy away from travelling to clients’ sites, but personally I think it is crucial when it comes to understanding a customer; there is simply no replacement.
Face to face meetings create a closeness that cannot be mimicked on the phone. The trust that you can gain from visiting a client and creating a bond in the boardroom is well worth the time.
If you want to know, just ask
Speaking to your customer base is a perfect way to understand them better. However, the questions you ask will dictate the level of understanding you receive from the answers.
Strong, intelligent questions will lead to good information. Closed questions will limit your results and daft questions will gain you an equal answer.
You also need to be asking tough questions that will evoke some challenging answers but may place you better to provide a stronger solution.
Knowledge is always power.
- What could we do as a business to improve our relationship with you?
- What experiences have you had with our competition that you would like us to replicate?
- What is missing from our product/service that would improve your company’s performance?
And don’t be afraid to fish for compliments….
- When have we exceeded your expectations and how?
It serves to reinforce a positive experience.
Know your data…
Customer data has a strong place in understanding. Knowing the behaviours that lead to purchases can help focus future marketing campaigns. Using analytics can help determine trends and therefore increase customer loyalty.
Look at how customers behave – are they online or offline? Is their business site interactive? What is their social media presence?
All these tools need to be examined and interpreted then take that data and use it. If you are meeting face to face, gather the data first and use it to formulate questions. A combination of all three techniques will guarantee that you have a more robust understanding of your clients.
Knowing your customer in detail, from business habits to personal data such as interests, family life and hobbies, can mean your understanding is deeper than that of your competitors and will give you an instant advantage.
If you know your customer and what they want, you can work on providing that – leaving you ahead of the game!