3 Strategies To Better Know Your Customer
Business growth in today’s economy relies the relationship you have with your customers, but providing excellent customer service isn’t enough. In today’s economy, you have to rise above the white noise and really stand out against your competition. Let me illustrate:
My husband and I love adventure travel; seeing and experiencing the world while doing things such as hiking, cycling or white water rafting. That type of vacation just really appeals to us. And while we love the adventure and the uncertainty of the vacation, we are not so “adventurous” when it comes to the planning. From the very beginning, we have always used an adventure travel company, putting our vacation in the hands of someone who knows better than we do what they are doing.
We had heard so many great things about so many companies; we decided to give almost all of them a try. We have gone with the high-end companies, those that offer amazing adventure coupled with staying at beautiful castles and five-star hotels. We have gone the cerebral route, selecting adventure travel companies with guides well-versed in the culture and the history of the country. We have gone the athletic route, working with an adventure travel company with some of the best equipment and most challenging hiking and cycling options available through any company. And we have gone the shabby-chic route, using an adventure travel company where we found the amazing adventures coupled with evenings full of big roaring fires, cozy inns and incredible food.
I have to say in all the adventure travel companies we have done, we have never, not one time had a bad experience. Every company we have traveled with has been over the top when it comes to delivering the adventure and the service. Yet despite having had not one bad experience, not one thing to complain about, we now just travel with, and are loyal to one of those adventure travel companies.
While the actual “live” experience of every single one of these adventure travel companies was amazing, it was just one of those companies that stood out, that set themselves apart not by the first impression, but by everything they did “after” our trip. For this one travel company serving the customer did not end at the close of our trip, that is where the job of learning how to serve us, getting to know us, first began.
To better understand you need to know the rest of the story. Our first adventure travel trip again was with the high-end company, and we had no idea what to expect. It was over the top amazing. As soon as the trip was over we got the most lovely thank you note and a beautiful basket with wine and goodies from the country where we had just visited. The next year, when we chose the more cerebral approach, the service and the vacation were impeccable, and soon after arriving home we got a beautiful book from them all about the history of the area where we had been hiking.
The following year, when we got into cycling, we chose yet another adventure travel company. We chose them for their high-end equipment and their fitness camps that were part of the whole adventure. They too, right after, sent us a wonderful gift, a really cutting-edge water bottle for our bikes, we loved it. Yet still, the next year we tried what would become our “only” adventure travel company, because I noticed they went to some countries where I really wanted to hike. Again our trip was amazing, the service impeccable, and they too followed up with a lovely “after” gift.
But this is where this adventure travel company took it one step further; they not only sent a gift, they picked up the phone and started what would be an ongoing practice of getting to know us, who we are, what we love, so they could cater to our every need. They saw the end of the trip as the beginning of an opportunity to serve us more. By investing in getting to know us, what we value, and what is important to us, they could then cater to our every need. For us, that meant every marketing message, and every interaction with this adventure travel company sounded like it was written for us.
See when it comes to business growth and building a customer base, exceptional customer service is just the first step. And quite frankly since it is the same step your competition is doing, it is not that step that will separate you or make you stand out to your customers.
If you want to get above the white noise, if you really want to grow your business then you need to begin by investing in getting to know your customer.
3 Strategies To Better Know Your Customer
Identify – News flash, not everyone wants to do business with you. News flash, you do not want to do business with everyone. Oh you know what I mean, you have customers right now that you love and that bring a smile to your face, and yes you have others that you would rather spend the afternoon at your in-laws than have to talk to again. Every single one of us has a “type”, a certain customer that we appeal to. To experience real and sustainable business growth you need to be able to identify who that is. Your right customer is one you like, one who pays you, and one that uses and refers your product or service. Write your top ten customers down, note all the things they have in common, and then congratulate yourself. You have just identified your top customer.
Relationship – Once you know your customer, you need to “get to know” your customer. In other words you need to build a relationship. The new rules of business growth include knowing and understanding what a relationship is and how to build one. The key is to focus on the other person, their needs. You need to ask questions, really listen. Your customer will tell you how to serve them, all you need to do is ask and listen. A healthy relationship is about learning to invest in your customers before we ask them to invest in us.
Act – Last but not least ACT! In other words assess what you have learned, and then take action. Be proactive and anticipate your customer’s needs. Do not wait for them to come to you; you need to go to them. Business growth today is about being out in front of our customers, being both a resource and a partner, someone they can count on to have their best interest at heart. The worst thing that can happen to you in this economy is not that you do not get the business; it is that your customers learn about a product or service they need from someone else other than you.
So there you have it, the path to business growth in this economy!
- Take the time to get to know your customer
- Really listen to their needs
- Ask great questions
- Then take action on what you learned
If you do that, you will separate yourself from the competition, and put yourself in a position to make this, or any, economy start working for you!