Raymond Albert Kroc, the man behind McDonald’s once said: “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” If you’re going to take business advice off someone, he’d be a good one to go with. So, essentially what he’s saying is that to have success in your business, it’s not about you, it’s about your clients. You need to put them first, and if money is your goal then you’re probably in the wrong business, your goal needs to be doing something that you love and doing it to make people happy or to serve them in some way.
For your business to be successful, you need customers, you rely on them, you rely on their money and their loyal custom, you depend on them to spread the word about your product or service, you rely on them to keep coming back to you, to avoid your competitors and to support you where they can. To achieve this, you need to love your customers; you need to put them first and give them the service they require.
To please your customers, you also need to be able to adapt to change. The world is continually evolving and developing, and technology is advancing rapidly, to coincide with this, customers needs and wants are also ever-changing. Look at big companies such as Apple; it is customer satisfaction (releasing a new model every year) that keeps them at the top.
Assuming you’re not the owner of a tech giant and can’t follow Apple’s method exactly, here are some ways you can stay customer focussed and keep the most important people to your business happy and at the forefront of your mind.
Find Out What Your Customers Want
Just ask them, it’s that simple. Don’t try guessing and going through the motions of trial and error and hoping something works and when it doesn’t try something else. By then, your customers will have gone elsewhere. So get inside your customers’ heads, get to know them, don’t just collect data from them, analyze it too, and find out as much as you can about your customer base. Use social media and social media listening to find out what your customers are talking about. Read their comments, engage with them, visit online forums, and do keyword searches on Google to see what comes up.
Give Your Customers What They Want
Once you know what they want, give it to them. There’s no point doing all the research to then ignore it. If they want a certain kind of product, if there’s something they feel could improve your product or service, if they say they need more value, then give it to them. This will lead to more business overall and a healthier future for your company. Make sure your customers can access what they need to, whether it’s information or products or service, whenever they need to.
Under Promise And Over Deliver
Never do the opposite; it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The least you can do is deliver on your promises, but if you don’t set a level of expectation that you might not be able to meet then you’re safe, you’ll be managing your customers’ expectations and if you end up delivering sooner or better than your customers will be pleased. There’ll be no risk of damage to your company’s reputation. So for realistic goals, set realistic expectations and you’ll have happy customers.
Ask your customers to give you feedback and make it easy for them to do so, whether it’s over the phone, via email, on your website or a smartphone app. If people are reluctant to leave feedback, then offer an incentive to do so to encourage people. This will help you to see where you could be improving and what the customers really think.
Appreciate Your Customers
Make sure your customers know that you appreciate their custom, acknowledge them, and thank them. You could be thanking them with a little message or gift or just by speaking with them and getting to know them. Try sending them a message via social media; it’s those little touches that mean something to customers. You could also reward them every so often, so whether that’s discounts, exclusive sales, competitions, vouchers or throwing them a party, it’s nice to give something back to your customers and show them how much they mean to you.
Invest In Your Customers
As mentioned before, if there’s something your customers want, give it to them. But also there could be things you could invest in that they don’t even know they want. For example, investing in cloud accounting software will help you to run your business more efficiently, ultimately benefitting your customers, and they don’t even know it. Before you invest in anything for your business, whether it’s new software, new tech, or even new furniture, think about how it’s going to benefit your customers first and foremost. If it’s going to make your job easier, that’s great but is it just about you or does this free up your time to do something else for your customers? Always think about them first.
Always Think About Your Customers
Make sure that putting your customers first is simply part of your everyday company culture, that it is ingrained in the heart of your company. From the off, this means you need to train and teach your staff that being customer-centric is the way to behave. This means that everyone will be on the same page, striving toward the same goal, and everyone is always focussed on the customers and providing them with the best service and solutions they need.