Customer centered businesses know that the right “Customer is king”, there is no doubt about that phrase, and it has been around for a very long time. I have listened to people in organizations putting a number of spins into the phrase such as ” a paying customer is king” or “a profitable customer is king”. Whatever spin you want to put in, the fact is that customer centered businesses are much more successful than those who are running after making quick money.
The right customer – this seems to be a big issue for most new business owners who are just coming into the business field. The challenge of not taking the time to segment and target customers properly is a killer in business. Knowing your customer before you even open the doors of your business is key. Business people just rush into making money without understanding the basics. Knowing who your right Customer is plays a big role in the success of your business. Successful businesses are spending enormous time and resources in understanding who their right customers are. Their success, profitability and sustainability is not by mistake. Small business owners can build their businesses around customers and succeed. Here are 5 steps that can help you achieve that:
1. Knowing Your customer – Products and services are designed and targeted to customers, but not all customers. The moment you spend time in understanding the type of customers you want to interact with and service, the better the prospects for your business. Invest a lot of time in identifying and knowing this customer. Know their age, where do you find them, their education, what do they do, what kind of jobs do they do, who do they socialize with, where else to they buy your products/services. This basic information will help you profile your customer the right way.
2. Customer Engagement – A bigger part of customers centered companies is through engaging with your customers. Customer connectivity is key, make sure that you are connected to customers either in person, online or through social media platforms. Sometimes business owners neglect this aspect of their responsibility and hope that someone else will do it for them. Take the time out and engage with customers physically. This engagement with customers is gold to business owners. This is where your growth and real learning comes from. Engaging with customers open doors to opportunities. It allows you to understand the value of your products to customers, pricing, competitor analysis, product innovation, product distribution and overall business efficiencies and effectiveness. Customer centered businesses get all this education for free.
3. Customer Service – Is improved when customers are at the center of your business. This also gives you an opportunity to develop and implement every business strategies and processes with a customer in mind. Your business will always be aligned with what customers are demanding over and above just products and services. Make sure that your business is ready to provide services to customers. Structure your business with processes and systems that favour the customer in terms of service delivery, this indicates that you are open for business and ready to serve customers.
4. Customer Retention – It is cost intensive to look for new customers, especially if your business is still at an introductory phase and making strides to grow. Building your business around customers retains profitable customers. It allows you to continuously improve the value of your products and the processes of delivering that products efficiently to customers. Implementing customer focused strategies can sure improve the retention of valuable customers. This retention of the right customers gives you a competitive advantage to grow your business organically. It allows you to increase the share of wallet by cross selling, up selling other products or services.
5. Customer Feedback – In the world of digital technology, it has become critical for your business to be 100% wired to social networks. This enables you to understand what customers are talking about, what is their new thinking, buying behavior, what are they saying about products, services in general, competitors, market trends etc. Participate in those discussions, provide solutions and education if you can. Always give customers feedback on complaints and requests. Poor customer feedback is the biggest complain for most businesses. Businesses do not make the time to listen or give customers feedback.
The moment you take the time and do basic things to improve customer experience. You are sure putting them at the centre of your business. You are guaranteed to run a well engaged and a profitable business in the long run