19 Jul, 2012
View Your Business Through Your Customers’ Eyes – Emma Wimhurst
Anything a customer wants, a customer can have. If you cannot provide it, someone else can. So it is important to provide a positively memorable experience that makes them come back for more. You can always make a difference to your business through your customer care regardless of the industry you are in.
As the founder and MD of Diva Cosmetics my clients were fast-paced fashion chains. I offered each company a bespoke service, providing Own Brand make-up that matched their customer profile. I needed to understand not only their unique market position but also what their customers wanted.
The buyers relied on me to understand my product and to be ahead of the trend each session. The success of the business relationship was built on that foundation (if you will pardon the pun). Now, I apply the same principle when I am mentoring business owners.
Contented customers will recommend you to others. They add value to the volume of your sales and the value of your business. Your reputation begins and ends with the quality of your customer commitment.
Customer commitment is the sixth of seven essential disciplines explained in my business book, BOOM! It involves anticipating what your customers will need or desire before they realise it themselves and providing what they want before they have to ask. Here are my top tips for improving your customers’ business journey:
KNOW YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Customers are your main business asset. Without customers you have no business and you will not survive. Every business owner should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who are you customers and what do they want and need?
- What leads customers to choose us – and what may cause them to turn away?
- Which customers currently contribute most to our annual revenue?
- How many customers did we get via referral?
- What can we do to attract more of the right kind of customers?
First impressions are lasting impressions. If you want to leave a positive impression you need to ensure that your values are being transmitted throughout your company, at entry level – and throughout your company, at every level – and throughout your marketing material website.
MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS FEEL SPECIAL
Always ask your customer plenty of questions. Find out their expectations. Get their feedback. Build a profile and keep in touch with them. On one level what customers want is what they ask for, but they also want to feel special, appreciated, understood, welcomed back.
They want to buy the qualities that you and your brand represent. The personal touch is the key to further business.
HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS TO HELP YOU
It is more expensive to attract new customers than is it to retain existing ones, so look after the ones you have. Customer care and marketing are natural partners. Market feedback, contact data and personal testimonials are often willingly given in exchange for a free offer or other incentive.
DELIVER WHAT YOU PROMISE
The only way to make a customer truly happy is to deliver on your promises. Remember that you and your values are part of what your customer is buying. No one wants to change suppliers unless that have to; it is time consuming and inconvenient.
BUILD POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
This tip applies to your team and suppliers as well as your clients. You are much more likely to get fast-track service when occasion demands it if you always treat people with courtesy and respect. Income makes your business profitable but the quality of your business relationships determines lasting success.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
You can’t be all thing to all people; and you will not please everyone. If something goes wrong, evaluate it honestly, make adjustments, put things right and learn for the future.
- Don’t work with people whose styles and values are likely to clash with yours.
- Don’t agree to anything that you do not understand or cannot deliver. Honesty is always the best policy.
- Nip problems in the bud. If you feel something is ‘wrong’, you are probably right. Find out your customers; concerns so you can put things right.
KEEP REVIEWING YOUR CUSTOMER CARE
What additional things could you introduce to improve your customers’ experience and create a lasting impression? REVIEW, your current customer strategy. PLAN your next steps. DO what you need to do to improve your customer commitment.
You want customers to feel as if they have received more than value for money – at no extra cost to you.