Whether you sell Business to Business or Business to Consumer, customers of all types are what keep your business going. There are many benefits of getting to know your customers so it’s best you make time to understand their wants and needs. As a business owner, you want to be sure to provide your customers what no one else can, this is a bulletproof way that will ensure customer retention. Additionally, you want to be sure to build trust with your customers, letting them feel and know they are well taken care of. Plus, your chances of persuading someone to buy your product or service is slim unless you understand clearly what it is your customers want.
Hello, Nice to Meet You
The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. There are many forms of communication, in-person, email and via social media — we’ve published several posts on business-customer relationships including, getting to know your online customers as well as tactics to grow customer relationships.
It’s well worth making the effort to find out and ask yourself the following questions:
Who are my customers? If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status, and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?
Why do they buy? Knowing why customers buy a product or service, helps you match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
When do they buy? If you approach a customer at the right time, you’ll likely increase your chances of new business. Some business operate seasonally or on fiscal years, which means their buying processes differ and you want to be sure to capitalize on that.
How much money does my customer have? You’ll be more successful if you can match what you’re offering to what you know your customer can afford.
What do your customers expect of you? For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
What do they think about you? If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they’re likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
What do they think about your competitors? If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of why it’s important to get to know your customer base.
Walk in Their Shoes
The best way to know a customer is to be a customer. You should have your customers in mind in every decision your company makes. This will require you to take a look at all the points your customers cover with your business. If you’re slow to return calls or fulfill orders, then you’re in danger of losing customers. Remember how annoying it is to wait hours on end for someone to answer one simple question? That’s how they feel, too. No matter what’s on your to-do list, your customer requires your attention as promptly as possible.
Ask For Their Opinion
How can you improve your service? What are they unhappy with? Sometimes a customer won’t tell you this personally, instead, it’s better to address the matter indirectly by having them conduct a survey. Customer surveys can tell you things you may not know, including human factors such as staff behavior. Not everyone complains when they are dissatisfied. Unless you proactively consult your customers, you may never discover where you are going wrong. Keeping in touch with your client periodically will ensure they don’t just go ahead and give their business to another company.
If your budget permits, you may also want to consider hiring a professional consulting company or telemarketing firm to conduct customer-satisfaction surveys on your behalf.
Ask any small business customer where much of their business has come from and many of them will happily utter the words “referrals” or “good reviews.” Referrals are the recommendations of others. Getting those recommendations can be easy, automatic and profitable. Satisfied customers are happy and willing to refer you to their friends and colleagues, further reducing the time and cost of landing new business. If your customer is really happy with your work, you practically hired a new salesperson cost-free! Also, remember that the number-one way to get referrals is to simply ask for them.
Getting to know your customers will improve their buying experience as well as the ways in which you can provide for them. Go the extra mile and ask them what they’d like to see you do better. It will never hurt and always help.