What Do Your Customers Really Want?
Are you focusing too much on what you want from your business – rather than what your customers want? A successful business relies on happy customers, that doesn’t mean that the customer is always right, but listening to your customers is.
We’re all customers to other people’s businesses and it’s important to think about what we expect from other companies. By changing the perspective by which you view your own company, you can start to make it more about pleasing the customers. Below are just some of the main ways in which you can start thinking like a customer.
Get the price right
Price is often one of the biggest things we focus on as customers. A product or service doesn’t necessarily have to be cheap – but it does need to be good value. In other words, if you’re selling a premium product, you need to make sure that the quality of the product you provide matches up to the price.
Overvaluing a product will put many customers off immediately. Those that are knowledgeable about the product already will know when you are overcharging. Those that may not be as savvy and who are willing to pay the price may eventually realise that the quality doesn’t match the cost. At this point, they are likely to complain or leave negative reviews – or at the very least never use your service again.
Undervaluing a product can also put customers off as they may expect inferior quality, even if your product is high quality. Even if the product seems to tick all the boxes on the surface, some customers may feel that it’s too good to be true.
It’s important that your customers aren’t being made to work – they’re the ones handing you the money. Consider the things that currently stress out your customers and how you can reduce this stress for them.
For instance, if you run a website development company and your customers often struggle with the task of finding website hosting, consider whether it would benefit your customers to also become a website hosting reseller. By helping your customers find a domain on top of building a site for them, you can make their life easier.
The convenience has to be worth your time too, so consider whether you need to increase the cost to accommodate for the convenience. Most customers will be willing to pay more for less effort on their part. This could include charging customers more for faster delivery or charging customers extra that want to personalise their order.
Sell an experience
Any type of product or service can be turned into an experience. By doing so, you can make your product/service more memorable. Customers are more likely to return to you because of this or may be more inclined to recommend you to friends. Don’t rely on the fact that your product or service works – this alone isn’t always enough to make a product or service memorable.
If you run a store, think about how you can make it visually stimulating and interactive. Handing out free tasters of food or allowing customers to test out gadgets can make it a more hands-on experience. Even if you run an online store, consider ways in which you can use 3D photos and videos to give people more of an experience.
Meanwhile, if you run a marketing company or an accounting company, consider ways in which you can turn consultations into experiences or turn your website into an interactive experience. Showing customers videos or allowing them to take part in a video call could make using your company a much memorable experience than simply having a conversation via email.
Not every customer has the same wants and needs. Offering personalisation can help you to appeal to individual customers – potentially broadening your market. This doesn’t mean that you have to change everything to fit individual customers’ needs. However, you should try to offer your customers a certain level of private treatment that helps them to feel special.
Take your time to guide customers through the personalisation process. If your restaurant offers the option to swap out side dishes or choose vegan options, make sure that your customers are aware of this.
This could include asking customers at the table as they order or highlighting it on the menu. Don’t wait for customers to ask you if they can replace a side.
Using analytics and automation, it’s now possible to also personalize your marketing in order to appeal to individual customer needs. Many online stores collect data regarding what their customers have bought and use this to then make automated recommendations of other products that are similar or commonly bought alongside another product. You may not even need to use data to make these recommendations if you personally know customers – simply by knowing what products and services they have used in the past, you can get a good idea of products and services that they might want in the future.
Keep your promises
It’s very important to stick by your promises. If you say you’re going to do something – in writing or out loud – make sure that you can follow through.
This is where bold claims within marketing can ruin a business. In trying to attract customers, a company might claim that they can deliver a product by a tight deadline or offer the cheapest rates around. But what if you can’t always achieve this? Customers that are expecting you to live up to your claims may be disappointed when you fail to deliver – and could complain or write a negative review. They may even sue you if they feel money has been extorted from them.
As a result, always be careful of what you say and what you write. While you can use small print to protect yourself, the best way to protect yourself is to not make bold claims up front. It’s much better to attract a few customers who you know you can make happy than to attract lots of customers of whom you cannot please.
Talk to your customers
Customers value communication.
Talking to customers helps to build a relationship of trust. Not being available makes customers feel that they’re being neglected and that their needs may not matter. You can risk talking too much to customers and annoying them, but this is much less common than not talking enough.
Talking to your customers is also the best way to truly find out what they really want. Take advantage of surveys to find out what your customers are thinking. Encourage them to suggest improvements where necessary and to tell you what it is they love about your business so that you can work out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. These surveys needn’t just be given to customers after you’ve worked with them – in some industries, you may also be able to survey customers beforehand to help deliver the personalised service they require.