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Benefits of Getting to Know Your Customers
  • 18 April 2018
  • Tiffany C Wright

Benefits of Getting to Know Your Customers

Today’s customers have a wide variety of alternatives to choose from for most products and services. While some industries have high barriers to entry including high initial costs for buildings, equipment or talent, the vast majority of U.S. small businesses with under five employees have much lower entry barriers. This means that it’s relatively easy for a competitor to come in and take your current or prospective customers, especially if you’re only competing on price. Hence, getting to know customers and using information gleaned from them can help you build customer loyalty, making it that much harder for a competitor to swoop in.

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Start talking

How do you get to know your customers? Start talking to them. Avoid making assumptions. Have a couple of key questions in mind depending on the type of customer you’re talking to, and then listen. The questions you’ll ask to a first-time customer are going to be different than the questions you’ll ask to someone who has made multiple purchases. Review a recent article by senior vice president of sales and marketing for The UPS Store, Inc., Michelle Van Slyke, for tips on talking to and getting to know your customers.

Find the right solution

As you’re talking with your customers and getting to know them, you need to think about how you plan to manage all of that customer information. There are a lot of customer relationship management (CRM) tools available, with pricing and solutions that vary depending on the features you need, number of users accessing the system, integrations with other applications, etc.

Personalized service

Think about how you feel as a customer when you walk into a retailer and they recognize you and greet you by name – "Hi Carol! It's great to see you." That small gesture lets you know that the business values and appreciates you.

The same applies to your customers. Make your customers feel special by taking the time to learn their names and greet them warmly whenever they visit. When you recognize and thank customers for their visit, they know that they’re more than just a revenue source. You’ve personalized the experience and likely, increased your customers’ loyalty.

Celebrate milestones with your customers – whether it’s sending a birthday card to them for their special day, or showing thanks to them on the anniversary of their first purchase with your company. If your customer database is large, consider segmenting out your repeat or most valuable customers as a starting point.

Improved marketing

As you get to know different customers, you’ll be able to glean valuable insights. Look for trends that emerge from the feedback. Where are your most valuable customers coming from? How did they find you? What are their buying or usage habits? What are their communication preferences?

Once you have this kind of information, you can refine your targeting to go after more customers like them. When you learn more about which efforts are most effective for getting customers to you, you can adjust your planning and budget accordingly. With customer feedback, you’ll be able to adapt your messaging so that it really speaks to your target customer base.

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Tailored services

In addition to the above, getting to know your customers allows you to better tailor your offerings and be more responsive to their needs. For example, if you run a catering company and you know a certain customer likes to throw parties for family events, you can follow up with the customer in advance of certain birthdays or holidays to inquire about her catering needs. Paying attention to the details helps you identify what is important to the customer with the end goal of building a lasting relationship with the customer that leads to repeat business.

Getting to know customers provides you with a wealth of information that you can use to improve operations, tighten your marketing, and build customer loyalty. Make it a habit to reach out and check in with customers. Ask open-ended questions that help you identify solutions for any problems they might have while strengthening the relationship. Be genuine and avoid coming across as super salesy. And listen. This personalized attention can help give you an advantage that sets you apart from your competitors.

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