Your customers are the most important people to your business. These are the guys who drive revenue, dictate the way your brand is perceived on various social channels, and generally make your company tick. It’s in your best interest to get close to your customer base, and know exactly what they value and care about. Here are five effective ways to do this…
It sounds a little too obvious, but it really works! Whether you do it digitally, in print, or even in person, nothing beats asking your customers directly what they want. Find out what they like about your business, what they dislike, and what they’d like to see you change in the future. As long as you actually act on the feedback you receive, you really can’t go wrong!
Study Their Compliments and Complaints
Outside of directly asking customers for their feedback, you should be placing a lot of value on the way they communicate in their own time. Compiling and dissecting everything your customers have said to you is a major staple of customer experience consulting, and if you’re overlooking any messages your customer base bring to your door, it’s going to come back to bite you. Reinforce the elements you’re complimented on, and use complaints to define and eliminate any existing issues.
Buy From your Closest Competitors
In many cases, the best way to get closer to your customers’ mindset is to literally put yourself in their shoes. One of the most effective ways of doing this is buying from your closest competitors. Start using all of their products and services that you’re up against, and compare them to what you’re pumping into the market. You can even contact their customer service department as a private consumer, and ask them about any details of a given product or service. Start imitating what they do best, and then do it even better!
Hire a Mystery Shopper
While hiring a mystery shopper service isn’t always a smart move, many businesses dealing with consumer products and services can benefit greatly from this particular ploy. It basically works by a having a secret shopper mingle with your existing customers, and strike up conversation about your products or services, finding out about what they like and dislike. In some niches, people will be much more likely to open up about a product with a fellow consumer than with the brand directly.
Conduct Focus Groups
Focus groups are another great way to determine what your customers really want from your kind of business. This basically involves bringing together a group of customers for an open-ended discussion about your business. Create an environment that sets them at ease, and try to steer the conversation towards what they like, dislike, hope for the future and so on. Just make sure you’re not defending, justifying, or arguing with anything that comes up. This will only drive people away from your brand. Instead, ask questions, take notes, and always thank people for their time.