Your Customers Do Know Best
When you meet with clients, have you ever noticed that you often discuss a few basic ideas and some will begin to shake their head and say no, “That will not work?” Sales and marketing is not simply a case of the marketer being right, and the client being wrong.
It is about understanding who your ideal client is, and working out how to find them, and then once you have found them, you need to figure out what you need to be saying to them, and this is where your existing customers come in. Most customers know what they want, how they want it delivered, and even what colours they want it in, so why don’t more businesses listen to their customers?
It is definitely time for business owners to start talking to their customers and asking questions on a regular basis. This will help them get an idea of what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong. Customers are the best source of information for future changes to the business.
Of course, you don’t have to change a tactic because one person doesn’t like how you do something, but it is important to understand that by asking clearly defined questions, and compiling the information received, your business can benefit and ensure your clients are happy and keep coming back.
Different Ways to Listen to Customers
There are many different ways businesses can listen to their clients; some of the main methods include market research, crowdsourcing, and customer support. Businesses can choose whichever style is most appropriate. However, always ensure that the customer is taken into consideration.
Marketing relies heavily on consumer preferences, opinions, and habits, and it should be that way because the success of a marketing campaign is usually dependent on how well the promotion or message compels the customer to act. This means that behind every marketing campaign is some good quality market research.
Some good market research strategies include focus groups, business software that tracks the behaviour of the customers, and access to the latest customer research. On a basic level, knowing which items to promote relies heavily on data collected about customer spending habits. On a more advanced level, brand affiliation cards, customer loyalty programmes and other incentive programmes can be used to track the spending habits of individual customers, so that businesses can tailor promotions and discounts for customer loyalty and retention.
Although feedback and market research usually falls into the market research category, the same techniques can be used for more basic business decisions such as business plan guidance and product development. Some businesses use crowd sourcing to help with things like restaurant menus and store layout, others use social media websites to ask important information about general business development.
Netflix has used a crowd sourcing-based contest where developers and customers could help to improve their movie recommendation service. This resulted in wider visibility for Netflix and higher brand engagement.
There is an entire strategy based on using product-specific feedback to help with product development. The strategy consists of marketing the product before it is produced to solicit feedback about different features. This allows businesses to only release products they know have enough customer demand to cover the costs of development.
Customer support is an area where listening to customers is extremely important. Many clients feel that customer service is frustrating, and a business that can make the process as fast and simple as possible will probably see positive results in their sales and customer retention rates. Because of this, many businesses invest in software that allows them to chat in real time with their clients on the business website. This eliminates the customer having to wait to speak to a representative over the telephone. Other businesses use call centre software that integrates the call with software that allows the customer service agent to access customer information and purchase history.
Of course, customer service that provides problem resolution is important to the success of a company, but businesses that want to stand out should also invest in proactive customer support. Things like feedback mailings and customer surveys can provide important information about whether a company is fulfilling its clients’ needs, which can help with the development of future products, marketing campaigns and customer initiatives.
Most of all listen to what your customers are saying. Take it in and act accordingly to best serve their needs.
So maybe customers do know best after all…
I am Belinda Bow
I love all things marketing and I thrive on seeing a business become re-energised and flourish. I am excited about life and I adore my family.
Within these articles, you’ll find some helpful tips and some real guidance to help you make the most of your business, and gain a good understanding of all things marketing.