What do you think is the most important factor in your business?
OK, don't answer that - It’s your customers and happy customers are a company's best friend.
At the end of the day, you work hard to make your business reach greater heights and that is only possible if your customers are happy as well as satisfied. Therefore, it's very important to understand your customers’ requirements and even forecast their future demands. For this reason you need to keep abreast of their ongoing requirements for the products and services you offer, get regular feedback and use innovative ways to learn from the experiences of your existing customers and the customers of your competitors.
So let’s try to understand the different ways as well as the different things you can learn from your customers in order to keep improving your business:
The Role of Social Media
Have you taken note of the important role played by social media in the growth of businesses in recent years?
The emergence of Facebook business pages, Twitter business profiles and similar business-orientated options have been initiated by popular social networking platforms across the globe.
Businesses need to look at their social presence, not only to promote their products and services, but to also understand what their customers are saying.
“Businesses have been dealing with social media feedback since social media began changing the media landscape in the mid-2000s, and the best practices haven’t changed since then. Businesses need to listen to the feedback and not dismiss it or rationalise it to their benefit,” said Rachel Carter, communications director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in Montpelier.
Be a good listener and check out the feedback, complaints or suggestions shared by your customers on the social media platforms. Keep them engaged by sharing regular updates about your business and reply to their queries or posts. This will help you to maintain a good customer relationship and continuously improve your business.
“You don’t want someone to say something about you — good, bad or indifferent — and then not respond to them,” said Gerry McFarland, director of sales and marketing at Equinox Resort in Manchester.
Moreover, you should listen to what your competitors’ customers are saying about their products on social media. In this way, you can figure out what your competitors lack and you can then try to fill these gaps by adding specific features and win their customers for your business.
You never know, the idea for your next innovative product or service could also come from one of your customers. So, do not limit your presence to just one social networking platform. Keep expanding your social reach by creating a Facebook page, Google+ page and so on for your business.
Understand Your Customers’ Needs
What do you consider is the key to serving your customers well and satisfying them?
You shouldn't just aim to meet your customers’ expectations, but to exceed them in every way possible.
Your customers may well be satisfied with the quality of services delivered to them, but are they all happy? Are they all getting exactly what they need from you?
For example, a customer may be satisfied that you have completed their project exactly as per the initial requirements, but there may be some unfulfilled expectations about additional features that you didn't provide on your own.
Generally, these undisclosed expectations arise when your customer keeps track of other businesses that offer similar services as you do.
“Many times the angriest customer becomes your best customer, if you deal with their problem in a responsible and personal manner.” - Don Mayer, founder and owner of Small Dog Electronics.
It should, therefore, be your aim to learn from your competitors and get regular feedback from your customers by meeting them frequently. This will help you to understand their thought process and you will be in a better position to offer them much more than they need. Thus, you are able to not only know what your customers want, but also understand what your customers may want in the future. And by exceeding your customers’ expectations, you will be able to retain them for a longer period of time.
So what do you think? Are we all doing enough to learn from our most important asset?