Understanding customer needs!

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For any business to thrive, the key is to understand customer needs, behaviours, motivations and most importantly, learn to anticipate them.

Good service is easy but truly great service, that gives your customer a memorable experience, involves exceeding their expectations through several key points:

1. Deliver what you promise

Increase customer loyalty by building trust. This will pay dividends through new business leads and the growth of your customer base through word of mouth recommendation. Honesty and keeping the customer fully informed at all times is absolutely essential in managing their expectations.

2. Change your perspective

Look at your business through your customers’ eyes. Tired, dilapidated premises or unfriendly staff at the customer point of contact can make an instant negative impression. Customers hate to be kept waiting so if your phone is ringing off the hook, you’re slow to return calls or fulfil orders this will create disappointment and impact customer retention.

3. Make it personal

Capitalise on your small business status by offering the personal touch; remember a customer’s name, ask after their family or refer back to a previous conversation with them. Ensure all staff from the top down make this a priority as it is key in providing truly great service. This will increase a customer’s sense of being valued and create a positive experience that they will want to share with others.

4. Data, data, data!

You can never collect enough data on your customers or their buying habits and this analysis will give you insights that are impossible to gain from anywhere else. Look for patterns in their buying habits, preferences and timing of orders in order to increase profitability through up-selling and cross-selling. Analyse your performance to see how fast you are responding to orders or delivering goods to maximise customer retention and satisfaction.

5. Obtain feedback!

After all, the best judge of how well you are performing is the customer themselves. This will give you crucial insight as well as making your customers feel valued – but don’t ask unless you are prepared to act on this information, feeding back to the customer to create a positive experience. Customer surveys offer knowledge of non-quantifiable factors such as staff behaviour and other human factors.

Bad news travels fast and an unhappy customer will take their business elsewhere whilst passing this on through word of mouth but not necessarily feeding back to you, so listening to them is essential. A good customer contact strategy will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse, proactively consulting your customers to drive growth, increase market share and ensure your business stands head and shoulders above your competitors.

Make your customers work for you by spreading the word about your outstanding service.

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