During recent years I?ve seen many businesses struggle with the economic situation. For some it?s been about cutting back for survival, but for others they have decided not to stand still, but to grasp the bull by the horns and go for business growth. These businesses believe that standing still is not an option during these more challenging times and that to become stronger and more competitive they need to grow.
Customers have become even more discerning when they are watching the pennies and expect quality products and services at value-for-money prices from companies they can trust and who look after them. What?s more, many of them want quick easy options for purchasing because time is precious and going to different suppliers costs time.
Interestingly when we are carefully managing our finances we hardly want to buy from mediocre sources when it is possible to find quality suppliers offering us a good deal. I have seen more and more businesses trying to compete on price, but that?s not enough. Customers are asking questions such as: ?I can get a great deal on several mobile phone networks, but which one of them will offer me the best service in terms of coverage, customer care, usability and flexibility?? Customers don?t want to be tied into 24-month contracts when they don?t know what will happen next month, so they need to look around for flexible solutions and multiple offerings from one provider.
I can see those businesses that are growing, understand their customers, know how to look after them and can offer them multiple solutions under one roof. By consolidating company practices and procedures and making themselves an easy company to do business with, their businesses are growing.
Put customers at the centre of your business decisions
Ensuring you offer the customer what they want when and how they want it while continuing to watch your own back office management costs can make growth possible for any business – even in difficult times.
Being the most successful means you must look at your products, customer satisfaction and overall business and financial management as one whole package. They are all part of the success or failure of your business, yet many of us split it up and give it to different people or teams to deal with. These teams often are so far removed from the customer they forget the reason they are in business.
Many of the businesses I work with simply forget the customer when they are worried about their future. They cut back on areas they see as non-profitable or non-income generators and roll out the same old products because they have cut back on research and development time. They will also reduce the customer service team and leave the customer hanging on for a response to their issues. These and many other areas are regularly cut back by companies who forget the effect on the customer.
?The customer is king?
Remember, when times are hard companies may decide to scrimp and save, but once this affects the service provided to customers, their commitment to buy from you will waver. Good deals alone won?t always keep them coming back. Good customer service, quality services and reputation go hand-in-hand with business success; being hungry for success isn?t enough, you need to remember who and what will bring you that success.
Start by consolidating; consider what you have now, look at ways in which you can offer the customer what they want and remove wastage – but only if it doesn?t affect the service and products your customers buy. Make the customer the key reason for all your business decisions.
Ask your customers what they want and listen to them. Grow your business by speaking to customers and providing them with the solutions they really want to ensure they keep coming back for more. Educate your staff to understand that the customer is the reason for your business not the other way around. All business is reliant on customers and losing sight of this fact will often lose you your business.