Priorities in business usually revolve around financials and forecasting, resources and revenue, team building and technology. It’s easy to become myopic and lose focus of the most important thing in the world: your customers.
Refocusing your marketing strategy to revolve around your customer, instead of your organization’s own goals and products, is sometimes easier said than done. But it’s well worth the shift in mindset.
1. Make sure everyone is singing off the same page of music.
It needs to be the priority for everyone, from the corner office to the production line to the cashier lane. And that message has to be positively and encouragingly passed from the top down through your organizational chart.
2. Do some digging.
The first step in focusing on your customer is really understanding who they are and what would make their lives easier, healthier or better – not what you can sell them. Do a little research into your existing customer base using your CRM system to get a feel for the demographics, purchasing patterns, length of buying cycle and needs of the people you do business with. This is where it’s helpful to put together a buyer persona – a composite of characteristics and quirks that represent your average or even ideal customer.
3. Go low tech.
Good UX Means Good Business
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing and user expectations are rising, it’s no longer enough to have an average user experience; to delight your users and surpass your competition you must strive for the exceptional.
(Blasphemous, I know!) How often do you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk through the front door (literally or figuratively) of your business? Whether it’s the homepage of your website or the lobby of your building, what is the first thing they experience? Do they immediately know what you’re all about, what you provide, where to find information and how to contact someone if they have questions?
4. Go undercover.
There’s something to be said for being a secret shopper. Some of your greatest insights and “aha” moments can be uncovered simply by walking into one of your stores or dealerships under the guise of being a potential customer looking for a product just like yours … without asking for your brand specifically.
How does the sales staff present information about your products and your competitors’ products? Do they answer questions accurately? Are they able to confidently justify the cost while explaining the overall value? Do they have the right tools and collateral at their disposal to explain features, show options and help the buyer choose? Most retail and dealership associates have thousands upon thousands of items they’re expected to be the experts on. Make it effortless to have the necessary information about your products at their fingertips, and make it exceedingly easy for them to make the sale.
5. Talk to the people who talk to your customers.
Want to find out what your customers really need and want? Ask your customer service teams who are taking phone calls and answering questions. Ask your salespeople on the floor selling your products. They hear it all – what works, what doesn’t, what information they need, what snags they ran into and sometimes why they chose not to do business with you.
6. Put your best people on the front lines.
All the marketing strategy, all the money invested in advertising, all the big data in the world come crashing down if the people interacting with your customers aren’t the absolute best people on your team. The conversations they have every single day in stores, in the field and on the phone can mean the difference between lifetime loyalty and an angry rant on social media. Train them well. Pay them well. Ask for their insights. Thank them often.
7. Say I’m sorry.
If something went wrong, if a product failed or if you dropped the ball, own up to it. Apologize, explain if possible, make it right and follow up.
8. Say thank you.
Never take for granted the fact that your customers could be doing their business anywhere. They chose you. Keep earning their business every day and say thank you every single chance you get.
9. Say thank you again.
Just for good measure.