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10 Things Business Owners Need to Know About Customers

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                                                                                   Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

 

Focus on Service

There are two aspects of every business that will make or break it. However, they both fall under the same category.  First, your employees. Second, your customers. The common category is people. I have written about every business’ power source in a previous blog but here’s a one sentence summary. Businesses can't exist without hiring, training, and retaining great employees. Now, I want to focus on the importance of customers. Business can’t survive without loyal customers.

If I could use a simple car analogy for a business. Employees are the “engine” of the “vehicle” that you have built, your business. Customers represent the “oil” of the vehicle. Then the business owner and the leadership team is the “fuel” that empowers the entire “vehicle” to function properly and successfully. 

So, in this blog we are going to look at 10 essential things you need to know about those folks who “keep your lights on,” your customers.

1. It’s Not Just About the Sale

Sure, closing deals is great, but it’s the long-term relationship that matters. Repeat customers spend more and spread the good word about your business like wildfire. So, value relationships over transactions. In fact, this is just the right thing to do anyway. After all that’s how we want to be treated, right?

2. Listen Up!

Your customers are dropping gems of wisdom all the time. Whether it's through reviews, feedback forms, or social media comments, pay attention to what they’re saying. It’s free market research! However, step some time to create a formal feedback system as well with a strong incentive to participate. Both informal and formal will give you great information. Then tell your customers when you are going to make a change and how so that they know that you are listening and that you care.

 


 

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3. Go the Extra Mile

Underpromise and overdeliver, is what everyone says to do. But how many people actually do it? Not many in my experience. So, set clear expectations of what you promised to deliver. Then set up internal strategies and systems to consistently “knock it out of the park.” Find things that your competition doesn’t know to do or is not willing to do. It’s a simple recipe for raving fans of your business.

4. Everyone Loves Personalization

This is the next phase of “Going the Extra Mile” for your customers. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all. Your customers want to feel seen and understood. So, get personal with your marketing and customer service. Address them by name, make sure that you have a system that shows the customer that you remember them and care instead of just seeing them as a means to an end. For example, recommend products based on their past purchases or recommend certain services based on their specific needs and don’t oversell. Be an advocate for them. This will show them you care specifically about them.

5. Convenience Is King

In a world where time is precious, convenience reigns supreme. Make it easy for your customers to find what they need, make a purchase, and get support. Streamline your processes and watch your customer satisfaction soar. Never assume that just because you can figure something out on your website or understand your processes doesn’t necessarily mean your customers can. Be sensitive to make things obvious and remind them of the process. If your customers have to work too hard they will go somewhere else!

6. Complaints Are Opportunities

Instead of dreading complaints, embrace them. They’re a chance to turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan. Listen empathetically, apologize sincerely, and then fix the issue promptly. Don’t push past them as if they are wrong or not valued. Now, sometimes customers will be wrong. Then you can explain the process in a kind way and try to make things more simple and convenient like I just mentioned. Seeking to really understand the root cause of a complaint and not getting frustrated with them is another great way to value your customers. 


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7. Loyalty Is Earned, Not Bought

True loyalty is built on trust, exceptional service, and genuine connections. Treat your customers like VIPs, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Think how you would like to be treated and work backwards, this is a great tip for all of these suggestions. However, if you don’t have great service and product then no matter how good the loyalty rewards are then they will not be back!

8. Social Proof Is Powerful

Harness the power of social proof by showcasing testimonials, reviews, and user-generated content. Personally I don’t like to use the FOMO tactic in marketing to pressure people. However, I do want to show potential customers how the product or service can help them based on other people’s experience with my business. After all, if you have a great product or service you don’t have to sell it. It will sell itself. If you truly believe in your offering then get their attention with facts then simply show the results that you get. In the end they will thank you for the solution you have given them!

9. Consistency Is Key

Consistency breeds trust and confidence. Whether it’s the quality of your products, the tone of your communications, or the experience you offer, strive for consistency across the board. Your customers will appreciate knowing what to expect. Especially if it’s a long term service solution that has a high price. People don’t want to invest in things that they are unsure if it will last or not. For example, what good is a 10 year warranty if they don’t believe you will be around that long? 

10. Evolve or Get Left Behind

The only constant in business is change, and your customers’ needs and preferences are no exception. Stay ahead of the curve by continuously evolving and adapting to meet their ever-changing demands. One of my favorite movie quotes comes from an old Clint Eastwood movie called Heartbreak Ridge. Eastwood played a platoon leader and whenever there was a challenge and his troops would complain he would say, “Adapt, improvise and overcome.” It’s a great motto for business because you will have business and no one will feel sorry for you.

Next Steps

So, there you have it – 10 essential truths about your customers. Build a system that serves your customers well by showing them that you value relationships over transactions. 

Keep your customers' needs top of mind and stop thinking about what’s convenient for you or your team. Of course we want to be efficient and create a great working environment for your employees because you need them. However, good training will make them realize that their future depends on how you serve the customers. 

After all, it’s not rocket science – it’s just good business.

Enjoy the Process.

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