Published on June 12th, 2013 | by IlenaSanchez


Understanding Your Customers

The old saying “the customer is always right” is founded in reason: without customers, businesses cannot exist. Thus, allowing customers to “be right” is a small price to pay for profit. However, this can be harder said than done.

Oftentimes, business owners find it hard to appease their customers simply because they don’t truly understand their customers or, more precisely, what the customer is seeking. Although it’s not always possible to understand everyone, implementing the following steps can help you see things from the buyer’s point of view.

Going Beyond the Customer

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, one of the most successful companies of all time (the Walt Disney Company) works to get repeat customers by wooing what they see as “secondary customers.”

For Disney, the core customer base is made up of children, but the “secondary customer” is the one who often controls the consumership. It is the parents who have the means to buy the tickets and travel to the amusement park. As such, rather than simply appealing to kids, they appeal to parents. They are proactive when seeing a family who looks lost in the park; they offer approximate wait times and tips on what rides or days of the week are less crowded; and they engage parents as well as children. All of this adds up to parents wanting to return to the park, leading to more business.

Doing Your Research

While there is no need to do full recon on every customer, using information assets to your advantage can help you better understand buyers. Information assets, such as those through Irish Opinions where customers answer paid surveys in Ireland, can offer you invaluable insight into people who buy or are looking to buy your product. Learn about their lifestyle and their spending habits. Things like age, in particular, can have a huge impact if you are selling something in the technology field.

If customers have left your competitor, discovering the reason why can also help keep you from making similar mistakes.

Communicating Completely

In all types of relationships, communication is key. In business, good communication can mean the difference between an angry patron and a sale. If you feel as if your customer isn’t being clear in what they are seeking, engage them in conversation. Offer them options, ask them questions, and double check to make sure their needs are truly being met.

Seeing Yourself from Their Point of View

What you are to one customer may not be what you are to the other. For instance, one customer may see you as someone who simply supplies a product, while another customer sees you as a company that solves problems through customized care. Some customers may expect a follow up call after their purchase has been made, while other customers may want to be left alone.

You should also consider, on an individual basis, how you communicate with each customer. Some customers may prefer to communicate only by email, while others may want to speak with someone on the phone. By offering several means of communication, you are improving your odds of appeasing everyone.

Thinking like Them

Perhaps the easiest way to understand your customers is to think like them. The simplicity of this lies in the fact that even as a business owner you are a customer in your own right. You shop, you purchase, and you seek out companies to meet your consumer needs. Think about the assets you look for when you are the customer and apply those strengths to your own company.

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Author: Ilena Sanchez

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