Meeting your customers’ needs
Delivering excellent customer service is one the best ways to retain customers, but it is your products and services that attract them to your business in the first place. Understand your target customers’ needs, desires and preferences. You cannot persuade customers to buy what you are offering if you do not know what their needs and desires are.
• A product or service with no demand will never be a success, and the business will eventually fail. When you understand what your customers need, you will be able to offer them relevant products and services, and also persuade them that your products or services are the ones they need. You will be able to use customer service, marketing and other techniques as tools for creating desire within your customers, specifically for your products or services.
Understanding your customers is important if you want to maximise your marketing budget and make your business more efficient. Your marketing efforts will provide the most effective outcomes if you carefully tailor them according to:
• who your target audience is
• what your customers typically buy
• what motivates their buying decisions.
Specifically targeting your audience will improve your sales techniques.
• You can use market research to determine who your ideal customer is. Knowing your ideal customer will allow you to tailor your business to their needs. This ensures that you provide customers with they want and expect, while avoiding targeting the wrong customers with wasteful advertising.
• Gathering information about customers and their behaviour helps you find out what your customers are buying, what drives them and how often they make their purchases. The more you know, the better you will understand them. Investing in a CRM system will benefit you here.
You will also be able to gather information about your customers through their purchases and any loyalty cards you have provided them. However, do not forget that central to maintaining customer trust is protecting customer data.
• Build safeguards into the digital platforms customers interact with and keep the data customers agree to share with you safe.
• Prioritise security and privacy by design, treat data as an asset, and establish a dynamic incident response process. These three key technical capabilities contribute to protecting the customer.
Once you understand your customers’ needs and desires, predict their behaviour and plan for the future accordingly. Re-engineer customer journeys and processes to address their needs and expected behaviours.
• Excel can help you with scenario planning. You should combine historical data and current trends to forecast possible future scenarios (the base case, an optimistic scenario and a pessimistic scenario) and prepare for them. This will help you recognise potential threats and neutralise them in time.
• The scenario planning results may also give you an understanding of improvements you could implement. These could be directed towards customers, employees, profits or anything else that your assessment shows is lacking.