Know Your Customer
Your business success depends on whether you know your customer and are able to give them what they want. How do you find out what that is?
It’s a tough world out there for small businesses. Consumers have more choices than ever before and are notoriously fickle. One bad experience (or even one just-okay experience) is enough to send a customer elsewhere forever. To be successful, you really have to know your customer and give them exactly what they want.
So how do you know your customer and please them? Some of it is simply plain old common sense: customers want excellent products, top-notch service, and fair prices. More detailed information to help you get to know your customer wants and needs can be ascertained through sales data, social media feedback, and customer surveys.
Here are some factors to help you figure out how to get to know your customer so they will sing your praises and hopefully bring you more business.
1. A Majority of Customers Patronize and Trust Local Business
According to score.org, more than 82 percent of customers use local businesses. More impressive is that in the next year, more than 48 percent plan to patronize local businesses more than they currently do.
According to Score, small business customers report that they appreciate the unique value provided by local businesses. Customers state that small, local businesses offer the following benefits:
- Personalized Service
- Quality Customer Service
- Quality Work
It’s easy to be intimidated when you’re competing with big national brands, but it turns out that being a local business is actually an advantage. Make sure you let your customers know that you’re local!
2. Customers Want User-Friendly Websites
In today’s small business world, if you’re not online, you might as well not exist. Creating and maintaining an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate business website is a vital step to recruiting first-time customers and keeping current customers happy.
In addition, in this modern era of on-the-go tech, it’s critical that small businesses have websites that are mobile-friendly. Mobile adaptability ensures that customers can find your business using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Many of us pull out our phones to shop or search for a product or service rather than sitting down with a computer, so a great mobile site is a must.
For more on small business website tips, visit our resource How to Build a Website on a Budget.
3. Use Direct Customer Surveys
You pour your time, energy, and heart into your small business. So, how do you know if your customers are satisfied with your efforts and hard work? You don’t…until you ask them! While this may seem like a daunting prospect, the only way to really find out what your customers think about your business is to pose that question directly.
According to Entrepreneur, savvy business owners should ask customers for feedback on current products and services. In addition, you should ask what products or services they’d like your company to offer in the future.
Direct customer surveys are a terrific way to get feedback on what your business is doing right, as well as what areas need improvement. One way to accomplish that is via email. Simply request that the customer take a quick online survey. In exchange for their help with the survey, you can offer the customer a discount or a special promotion as thanks for their time. You can do the same in-store by handing out cards or adding notes to the end of receipts with instructions on how to access the online survey.
4. Check Your Online Reviews and Social Media
According to business pros, online and social media reviews provided by customers are considered a valuable “organic promotion.” Customers like to use online and social media reviews to inform their buying habits and make purchasing decisions.
Social media platforms allow customers a real-time way to connect with businesses about their needs and experiences, both good and bad. The key to small business social media success is acknowledging your customers’ feedback. If you receive a glowing review, comment back and perhaps offer a special perk for the positive affirmation. Then take notes and use that information to make your business better.
5. Look for Bad Reviews
Realize that not all reviews and comments about your business will be positive. Just like you should be taking notes about positive reviews and incorporating those practices into your business, you should seek out negative reviews to find areas where you can improve. This is a great opportunity to engage with the reviewer, find out more about their issue, and make it right. That’s also great PR—people love to see a company responding to reviews and addressing customer concerns.
Know Your Customer so You Can Give Them What They Want
Knowing what your small business customers want may not always be intuitive. By taking steps to find out about your customers’ needs, experiences (both good and bad!), and responding to their feedback, your business will be better able to satisfy existing customers and woo new ones.