Do you have your eyes on your customer? Think before you answer this question.
As business owners it is all too easy to lose site of the customer. You are busy fighting day-to-day fires. You have to manage the needs of your staff. Your accountant is on your back about your cash flows and profit margins. You are trying to spend more time with your family to return some balance to your life.
Perhaps you have hired a sales team or a customer service department and it’s their job to manage the customer, while you manage the business.
It’s all too easy for a business owner to lose sight of their customer.
How to stay focused on customer
As businesses grow, business owners can be wedged further and further from their customers. So how can you keep your finger on the customer pulse and still manage the business and fight those fires? We share three tips.
Ask lots of questions.
The world is changing rapidly and the product or service that perfectly met your customers’ needs yesterday may not be quite right for tomorrow. To stay connected with customer needs, keep asking questions.
Interrogate your salespeople, technicians, customer service staff: anyone with direct connection to your customer. What are customers’ frustrations and complaints? What do customers take for granted and what delights them?
Don’t stop with internal queries. Get out there and talk to your customers directly. Make a personal call to a few customers each week and have a chat. How are they finding dealing with your business? Is there any other way your business could help make their lives easier?
Hire carefully, train well and check in regularly
Never underestimate the risks involved when you hand over customer contact to a staff member. One staff member being discourteous or disrespectful can destroy years of work establishing customer trust.
Whether you are hiring a permanent sales person locally, or a casual customer service representative from the Philippines it is crucial to hire people who will represent your business well. Once you’ve chosen new staff, make sure you train them on how you expect customers to be treated and then check in regularly to ensure they are living up to expectation.
Stay in regular contact (personally)
Newsletters and email automations are great ways to keep your business and products in front of your customer. But these tend to be one-way communications.
Find ways to personally interact with your customer. Spend some time on your social media pages and personally review any questions, comments or complaints. Get out on the shop floor and serve customers. Spend a day in the field with one of your sales reps. Pick up the phone and call a few customers to see if there’s anything you can do to help. Hold a customer appreciation day.
Staying in touch with your customer does not need to be onerous, but it does need to be a high priority. Even if you only set aside one hour a week to talk to customers on the phone, in person or on social media you will be keeping customers in your line of sight. You will be amazed how much this will help you to manage your business into the future.
Sometimes a business coach can help you to prioritise your work and focus your attention on what’s critical – like your customers. MJA Business Solutions has a team of business coaches available to work with you. Simply give us a call if you would a like a free initial assessment.