Understanding customers is a science that takes many new business owners a while to master.
At the end of the day, customers want two things from you:
1. Customers want to be satisfied with your products and/or services.
2. Customers want to feel appreciated.
So, fulfilling your customers’ needs seems pretty simple, right? All you have to do is give them what they pay for, and develop a basic, friendly relationship with them. Unfortunately, you can’t always deliver what they want due to poor inventory management or order management on your part. Or customers may simply end up not being satisfied with what they paid for. Additionally, you won’t always have the time or resources to develop a relationship with each of your customers. Still, you obviously have to meet customer needs often enough to keep your company’s reputation in tact. Here are some tips to help you give customers what they want and to help you keep them coming back:
1. Develop new products and services with the help of customer feedback about older products and services. Select a few customers every month, and call or email them to ask about how they feel about their purchase from you. Read online reviews of your company on sites like Yelp. Take all constructive criticism to heart and adjust your new products and services based on all the customer feedback you can get.
2. Pay attention and listen. Sometimes customers won’t be able to verbalize exactly what they want from your company. However, they will be able to verbalize what kind of day they’re having and what they want in general from you. If you are able to glean that a customer is going through a hard time financially, you may not want to try to sell them your most expensive product or service. Stick with selling them what you know they’ll need, and they’ll be more likely be pleased with your company.
3. Communicate with your customers if you can’t deliver what’s expected. Mistakes happen, and some orders may need to be delivered late. Make sure you let customers know about the status of their orders if things go awry. Apologize, and take full responsibility. Making excuses for your company is a surefire way to upset a customer.
About the Author
Carolyn K writes about small business practices, inventory management, and startups for the Blog Content Guild.