Figuring out what your customers want from you is key to improving the customer experience for them. If you are like a lot of my clients, you compete every day with companies with big marketing budgets and a big research and product development budgets. The only problem is you don’t have those kinds of resources so you need to get the same information and inform your products and services and the way they are marketed and delivered with the limited resources that you do have. Here are some ideas.
- Ask Your Customers and Listen Carefully
Key to figuring out how to provide services to your customers is to understand what they want from you. Ask your customers why they buy from you. Ask some prospective customers why they would and would not buy from you. Listen to the answers. You would be amazed to see how eager people are to tell you want you want to know. Most customers will consider it a form of flattery to be asked.
Another approach is to do a survey. This can be done inexpensively using a vehicle like Survey Monkey. We use this for research for many of our customers and for ourselves. In fact, if you have one minute, you can do our survey by clicking on the following link (after you finish this post of course!):
The only trick is to be sure you don’t ask leading questions that give you the results you are expecting instead of the unbiased results you need to be successful. If you don’t think you can do this successfully, seek out some help.
- Pay Attention to Trends
Most industries today have many industry specific and general trends that are affecting them. The key is to differentiate between a fad that is more momentary and a trend which is longer term. You need to look out several years and anticipate how these trends affect you. Then you need to craft strategies to adapt and take advantage of these trends by creating new services and products that customers will want to buy. Good sources of information are trade magazines for your industry. Much discussed are how different generations shop and what kind of products they buy. Think about Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z and so on. What is the impact of this on your business? More on this in a later post.
- Communicate With Your Customers
Communicating with your customers and prospective customers doesn’t mean trying to sell things to them (at least not with every communication). It means opening a dialog with them and keeping the dialog going. You need to keep up with what they are thinking and doing. Of course, one of the most obvious ways to do this is by engaging them on social media. You need to be listening to what they think of your company and its products and you want to keep them informed about what your company is doing for them.
If you do this well, and use the information from the above three activities to shape your customer’s experience with you, you will be taking a critical first step in improving the customer experience for your customers.