They pay your salary and make your job possible. Your business cannot exist without them. But can you honestly say that you are a customer-focused organization? Do you speak and truly understand their language.
The crux of the problem lies in how well you know your customers. The better you know their wants and needs, the less likely the above is likely to happen because you deal with issues before they develop into extreme situations.
Let’s be honest, most organizations don’t really know their customers well. They deal with them on a very superficial basis and so long as they are not complaining out loud, all’s well with the world. But is it?
The traditional customer/supplier relationship won’t survive the pressures of today’s competitive marketplace. To stay on top of the game, organizations need new and improved ways to keep the customer of the future happy and loyal.
However simplistic it sounds, the best way to find out more about your customers is to ask them.
And, what better place to build your relationships but at industry trade shows. This environment offers you multiple opportunities to connect and build on new and existing relationships. Do you take advantage of the one-on-one face time, or are you more intent on drumming up new leads, because you think you already know everything you need to know about your current customers.
Here are ten questions to help you get started to discover critical elements about your most valued customers:
- What’s driving customers to buy from you?
- What keeps bringing them back?
- What do they value?
- What kind of results do they expect?
- What drives them crazy about doing business with you?
- What makes them happy about doing business with you?
- What’s the most innovative service you have offered in the past year?
- What was the reason for that innovation?
- What is the unique, distinctive yet still relevant benefit you alone offer
- What’s unique or remarkable about your products/services?
Take your responses and then look at how you can truly differentiate your offerings from the competition.
The easiest and quickest ways to get your customers on the happy and loyal path is to pay special attention to three critical elements – Value, Relationships and Service.
- Value - Do you know what value you offer customers? Do you know what they expect? If you do, then be prepared to give them more. Consider giving something away that you wouldn’t normally.
- Relationships - What are you doing to solidify co-partnering alliances? Take time to build relationships. Consider spending 15 minutes a day to do something that would build better relationships with your customers, such as a phone call to check how they’re doing or sending them an article of interest.
Look out for customers who need extra help, for example, your newest customers who often need more hand-holding than your long-standing customers.
- Service - What are you doing to make sure that you give the right type of service?
Remember to treat customers with the same respect you would wish to be treated and success will be yours.
Finally, think about the adage, “Not doing more is not an excuse for doing less.”
SUSAN FRIEDMANN, The Tradeshow Coach, helps companies put their best foot forward at trade shows and events. Working with organizations who want to grow their target marketing strategies, Susan offers programs to increase results and focus on building better relationships with customers, prospects and advocates in the marketplace. Susan has written fourteen books including "Meeting and Event Planning for Dummies,” “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” made it to #1 in hot business books on Amazon.com, and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing.” Many of Susan’s books have been translated into several languages, and her training materials are used worldwide. She has appeared on a variety of radio talk shows and as a guest expert on CNN's Financial Network and Bloomberg’s Small Business.