Do you really know your customers and how to connect with them?
Understanding your customers, their needs and how to speak to them is vital in the success of any business in any industry. Through having an appreciation of your customer’s needs, you can practically tailor your business to suit those needs, resulting in customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as repetitive business.
Understanding your customers
It is said that 79% of buyers only consider brands that understand and care about them, which is why it is so vital that business owners take the time to discover what really makes their ideal customer tick. Understanding your customers is the key to providing good service, as well as anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations. The keys to truly understanding your customers include putting yourself in their shoes, collecting and analysing data through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and lastly is to simply ask your customers what their opinions are.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Assess the points at which your customers have contact with your business and how satisfied they would be during each of these points. For instance, is your website easy to navigate and do you answer your emails when a customer asks about your products or services? It pays to objectively think about whether you would be happy with the experience you provide your customers with.
- Using data to understand your customers. Your database or customer relationship management (CRM) system is a gold-mine when it comes to shedding light on your customer’s needs and buying behaviours. The ability to investigate the data you have on your customers can tell you all kinds of things, including when your customers typically make orders. As CRM systems hold information about customer behaviour and preferences, they can improve customer satisfaction and retention.
- Ask your customers for their opinion. Consider conducting a customer satisfaction survey, which will not only provide you with valuable insights, but will also make your customers feel valued. If you don’t consult your customers, you may never learn where you are going wrong.
Speaking to your customers
Many business owners may see talking to customers as a means to an end, but it is important to move away from this kind of thinking. After all, it is said that 45% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer service. A business can also actually derive a lot of value through effectively communicating with their customers as you can determine exactly what their needs are and what you could be doing to improve your business, directly from the source. Firstly, it is crucial to find the right strategy before going ahead and interacting with your customers. It is important that you keep the following things in mind:
- Defining your tone to streamline all communications. Do you want to present as more casual or formal, or hip or conservative? The tone of your customer support reflects the business itself.
- To listen more than you talk. It’s easy to launch into trying to convince everyone that your product or service is the best, but it is vital to pause and consider your customer’s thought process. These insights will help you to further improve your business’ offerings.
- Use positive language and always be polite. The better the experience a customer has with your business, the more likely they will return and also pass on positive recommendations to those around them. Express gratitude for them choosing you over competitors.
- Prioritising responses. Unfortunately you can’t be everywhere at once and you can’t respond to every single question immediately. It’s okay to prioritise requests according to their urgency.
- Lean on templates and automation. Set up autoresponders that allow you to insert formulated responses into future conversations with the click of a button. This not only ensures a timely and measured response for customers waiting on information, but gives you breathing room when it comes to replying to all of your customers.
- Provide follow-ups and seek feedback. It’s important to finish what you started when it comes to conversations with customers. When it feels necessary, go that one step further and check back in with customers that may be feeling dissatisfied. This shows that you value their needs and want them to have a positive experience. It is also beneficial to seek feedback from your customers so you’re aware of what you’re doing right and wrong. You can then use any positive feedback you receive as customer testimonials about your business.
Ways to communicate with your customers
- Email. A convenient and swift way to connect with your customers, especially if you have a new product or offer. You can easily send out e-newsletters and customers can also use emails to get in touch with you.
- Website. One of the key ways to communicate the vital aspects of your business such as opening hours, pricing, and the ability to order products and check on delivery status. Customers rely on websites to tell them the basic information when it comes to your business.
- Text Messaging. Texting allows for quick communication in regards to placing orders, meetings, delivery schedules and provides the opportunity for customers to opt-in for text messages about new offers and deals. Your business could also have a dedicated texting support number that allows customers to text in with issues.
- Web Chat. The inclusion of a chat option on websites is growing in popularity as more customers are looking for immediate answers and don’t want to have to make a phone call. Web chat applications allow you to automate answers to basic or common questions and bring in a representative for more complex ones.
- Social Media. Giving business owners a whole new way of interacting with their customers as well as promoting your products or services. You can engage in one-on-one communications with your customers and have the ability to monitor every mention of your business, allowing you to respond to questions and note any complaints.
Are you interested in finding out more about how you can start understanding and speaking to your potential customers? The ABS Institute is offering a number of free Self Employment Workshops that provide great skills for those thinking of starting their own business. Learn more about these free workshops here: https://www.absinstitute.com.au/start-your-own-business/exploring-self-employment-workshops/