Even when things get hectic, focus should stay on customer

We all know that doing business has been tough over the last few years. The economy has changed. Doing business has changed. Many of our industries have changed. Quite frankly, it’s been crazy out there!

But while we’ve watched our world, literally, change around us, there are some things in business that shouldn’t change. One of those things is making an effort to understand your customers and their changing needs.

Making a point to know your customers is beneficial for several reasons: it allows you to tweak your offerings to continue to serve their needs, to better understand them, to pinpoint possible trends and issues that could, in turn, affect your business in the near future, and to better market yourself to them.

Recently, I listened to an excellent webinar hosted by PR Web and featuring John Jantsch, author of “Duct Tape Marketing,” and he touched on this very subject and provided a number of questions that businesses should ask every customer.

Those questions are:
1. What would you Google if you were searching for a business like ours?
2. Why did you hire us?
3. What’s one thing we do better than our competitors?
4. What’s one thing we could do better?
5. Would you refer us?

Once you have collected a sufficient number of responses, it’s time to analyze your feedback. Do your products, services, customer service and marketing efforts reflect those responses? If not, it’s time to re-think the way you’re doing business.

This isn’t something that should be done just once. This simple process should be done on an ongoing basis. Each time you review your feedback, try to look at your results with a fresh set of eyes to ensure you aren’t disregarding subtle shifts and trends that, if addressed early, could help you keep your position as a leader in your industry.

I know it’s sometimes easy to put your own business on the back burner when you’re working overtime to keep customers happy and the doors open. However, investing in yourself can yield valuable returns that make the whole process worth it.

Melissa Rothermel serves as Director of Media Relations for Imagine Marketing.

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