Tips to Help You Identify and Nurture Customers
Businesses can often become so focused on profit and loss, they lose sight of the fact that the best measure of their success is their customers. If you want a true assessment of how your company is doing, ask the next customer that walks through your door or calls you on the phone.
Most business owners get so involved in the day-to-day grind that they forget that their business is dependent entirely on their customers. Without customers -- who tend to form loyalties to companies based not only on products and pricing but also on the quality of service they receive -- there is no business.
It should come as no surprise, then, than businesses should work hard to capture and maintain consumer loyalty.
So how exactly do you do that?
Know your customer
No matter what products or services your company offers, knowing your customer base is the key to success.
The more you understand your customers, the better your chances of growing the company. These days, there're even specialized companies who provide online, targeted customer databases for all sorts of businesses. With resources such as these, it's become much easier for businesses to delve into the likes, dislikes, personalities and shopping and spending habits of their target market.
Your customer could be your best promoter
In today's world, positive word-of-mouth referrals have a lot of value and can go a long way toward helping a company expand its customer base.
Most of the positive referrals come from your highest-value, most loyal customers. Make the effort to listen to and nurture your client base into loyal, enthusiastic patrons.
Well-nurtured customers positively impact a business in a variety of ways: they repurchase and buy more, tell their friends or colleagues about your company, give you constructive feedback, take time to help you make your company better and are more forgiving if you make a mistake.
What sets you apart is how you treat your customer
Neither prices nor range of services can attract and retain customers. What does go a long way toward helping consumers form loyalties is superior customer experience.
With so many companies providing competitive pricing for similar quality products, what sets your business apart is your ability to provide consistent and quality customer service and personalized transactions. This involves understanding your customer’s needs and then finding a way to deliver on those promises every time.
The flip side? If you don’t provide a great customer experience, your target market will take their business elsewhere.
Use customer feedback to your advantage
Customer feedback -- whether positive or negative -- can help you strengthen the consumer-company relationship.
Use the negative feedback to help you identify areas where you need improvement. The positive feedback will show you what you're doing right.
Call inactive or past customers
Have you tried calling former or inactive customers? Listen to them and get their perspective on why they left or stopped doing business with you.
Use this information to guide you on what customers look for when they select a product or service. It can be an opportunity to win back those past customers , and also provide you with a strategy to attract prospective clients.
Never forget: The customer is the most valued asset for any company, and personalized customer service makes them not only good loyal customers but also promoters and brand ambassadors of your products and services.
Vin Gupta is the founder of San Mateo, Calif.-based InfoFree.com, which provides sales leads to salespeople and small businesses, and Database USA, a provider of big databases and database marketing to enterprise customers. He also founded Infousa and SalesGenie, which he sold in 2010.