Understanding that a customer has needs when using a good or service can allow a business to identify marketable opportunities for increasing profitability or maximizing revenues. For a large portion of customer focus, its about communication.
A customer focused approach can be adopted by many aspects of a business, such as;
- Customer Service
- Growth and Extensibility
Many customers will have different needs and goals and there are many aspects to a business that may need to change to adopt a customer-first approach, but the payoff is;
- High Customer Retention
- Long Term Commitment
- Greater Profitability
- Greater Customer Satisfaction
However, adopting such an approach may also have some negative business consequences;
- Increased Spending
- Increased Overheads
- Increased After-Sales spending
- Immediate responses and on-site negotiation
- Lower Profitability
- Harder Automation or lack there-of
Providing a Customer-Focused Approach to Sales
Giving the customer what they want is paramount to ensuring a customer-focused approach. Customers usually can appreciate a hands-off approach to getting things done and are usually willing to pay extra for it. Providing a service that is better than the competition or providing greater pre-sales support increases, for example, through online-chat or in-person representation allows the business to increase their potential to close a sale and provide the customer greater satisfaction in their choice.
There are many ways to provide a custom approach to sales;
- Offer a product that is superior to competition – If your business is able to deliver a product better than the rest, you can capitalize on its potential to increase the customer’s satisfaction.
- Use Marketing that drives the customer toward package solutions – providing a complete service, rather than a means to an end will allow for greater satisfaction, and as a by-product greater opportunities for increased added value.
- Guide the customer – Inform the customer of any regulations or licensing that they may need, arrange to set that up for them as part of the service.
- Offer tertiary products that complement their purchase.
- Provide Pre-Sales service to ensure the customer is satisfied through demonstration or information.
- Understand the customer’s stated clear needs and objectives to provide a product they would be satisfied with.
- Know when the customer is ready to talk, and when they aren’t.
- Exceed the customer’s expectations.
- Develop relationships that the customer values.
- Offer solutions to suit the needs and concerns that the customer may have before purchase.
- Don’t be passive. Engage with the customer
- Ensure customers receive what they ask for and gauge success
Offering a way for the customer to reflect their satisfaction, through survey or metrics will allow a business to identify where they achieve, exceed or disappoint the expectations of the customer.
Providing a Customer-Focused Approach to Management
A large part of Customer Focus for management staff and management, in general, is providing proper training for staff to fulfill the needs of the customer above and beyond their expectations,
- Management shouldn’t be a roadblock between the customer and the sales staff. Provide a framework that can be followed such as a budget or develop routine customer stories.
- Provide training to ensure the sales staff know what isn’t allowed.
- Use appropriate means of communication, don’t push for sales.
- Have measures in place to prevent abuse, A case study about continental found on average the lowest value customers whose flights were delayed were receiving the highest compensation.
- Know your market segment and the needs of the customers, if a customer does not care about your values as a business, you need to change to be competitive.
- Provide staff with a view to the customers’ interests and an incentive to stick to it.
- What is the best way to collect customers’ responses and respond to issues?
- Coordinate your teams as a group with clear ground rules and goals but don’t alienate the customer
Providing a Customer-Focused Approach to Location
When a customer wants a product or service, they may be willing to pay more than the going rate for convenience, more-so due to the new market for app-based food deliveries and same-day online shopping. Having the customer see your storefront when they need to is a perfect situation for both parties.
Many businesses also opt to help the local community and sponsor community projects.