What does the customer want?
Companies used to create products and then find customers to buy them. But you can’t do that anymore. In today’s marketplace, you must go beyond asking customers for feedback to creating an open dialog with them. Here are some ways to create that dialog without having to spend a lot.
Once you have gathered an understanding of your customer, who they are and what their needs and wants are use that to tailor your product, service, or solution specifically for them. By understanding your customer’s specific needs and wants before you develop your product you will have an established market for that product before you even launch.
How they view the value of what you offer?
Price in dollars used to be the only factor companies considered when looking at what a product would cost the customer. In today’s marketplace, you need to understand that consumers measure many factors when evaluating costs.
Different types of customers view cost in different ways. You must make sure you understand how your customers view the cost of what you are offering.
How they rate the convenience of what you offer?
Location, location, location used to be king in marketing. But as more and more businesses offer their products and services without a brick and mortar location convenience plays a huge role in the purchase decision. Just as in cost the time it takes for your customer to get your product can weigh heavily on how they judge your product. We live in the world of 2-day delivery or on-demand services and downloads. As businesses, we should pay close attention to how we are getting our products and services to our customers.
How we talk to them?
Promotion is a one-way path from your business to the constomer. Communications are two way. They are about not only creating clear, consistent messages that resonate with your customers but listening and adapting to feedback.
<p style=”text-align: left;”That’s right I said two way. But what does two way really mean when it comes to customer communications? This is where many businesses fall short. They think customer satisfaction surveys and reviews on websites will suffice. Those are great as we covered earlier for product development but it doesn’t cut it for managing customer relationships. True customer relationship management involves communicating with your customers on a regular basis. This involves not only listening to what they are saying (i.e. gathering their feedback) but really hearing it.
And once you have heard what they have to say you must step back and digest it. Look at it. Study it. And determine how it lines up with what you are doing. And then use it.
Once you have heard your customers and made any modifications you complete the loop by using your marketing to message back. Social media can be an inexpensive and effective way to do this. And by doing it you show your customers that you are in fact engaged. Then you rinse and repeat.
As you can see your customer must be at the center of everything that you do. And when you do put them at the center you will see great results and in the end, your job will get easier.
By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI
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