Wednesday, March 19, 2008

DO YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS?

Do you really know what your customers are thinking and what they really want from you?
Most companies think they do but don’t. You need a strategy to focus on your customers:
• To grow the business.
• To ensure the success of your existing or new product.
• To develop the skills of your professional sales team.
Scientists and business people with the full might of marketing tools, constantly fail to spot how much consumers want technology and why. For example, in the early 90’s a huge investment went into interactive television but this took some 10 years for it to take off.
In the late 90’s, even bigger investments were made to produce an inter-connecting process between the internet and mobile phones. Whilst the outcome is unknown, early stages suggest that technology has not produced the popular demand thought.
However, on the other hand, short text messaging which was a tiny investment has turned out to be absolutely booming.
Unique Selling Points
What is your unique selling point? It need not necessarily be unique but simply that there are a number of significant differentiators to the competition.
Loyalty and Satisfaction
There is loyalty and there is satisfaction but invariably these do not go hand in hand. Once you have found your USP, you need to build loyalty and then develop customer care.
Clients are often satisfied with many small issues but this strategy is on focused and confusing. Satisfaction is short-term, meets immediate needs and generally is passive. A survey was recently carried out which said that 70% of defections were satisfied customers.
Loyalty means that there is a long-term stronger relationship with trust and an army of people ready to refer others to you.
The buying decision for most products and services is based upon on a small number of USPs. Satisfying USPs often makes customers forgiving of other service weaknesses but do companies know what their USPs are?
Finding true USPs has the best leverage for growth.
McDonalds for example, put a toy in a Happy Meal, which creates a large children’s market. Location is important, why are so many “average” hotels doing so well at airports? Simply because they are at airports!
What do you differently from the opposition, which attracts clients – have you ever thought about this?
What customers buy and what companies sell are two different things. Therefore, every so often you should place yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask the question what are they really buying?
The answer 99 times out of 100 is not what you think they are selling. (Source: Funky Business 1999).
Do you really understand your customers and if so, how do you do this? Often this is done through surveys but why don’t we hear the true voice of the customer? They invariably tell us what they want us to hear rather than the real truth.

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