Six Steps to Creating a Customer-Focused Culture
How to Develop a Customer Focus
As a relatively broad outreach strategy, customer focus is something that is different for every business. However, the basics of it are that you put your customer at the center of every decision, which means you first need to research and identify your customer base. Once you identify your customer, you can move on to building a relationship and putting those customers' needs first.
Researching the Customer
Identify your target audience.Identifying who your target customer is may not be easy, as you may have a product that reaches across demographics. Nonetheless, you need to know who your customer is before you can begin to build a customer-focused business. You can use one of the many research methods in this section to help identify your customers.
Try surveys.Surveys and feedback forms allow you to get information from your customer just after the service is performed. They can help you understand what your customer liked or didn't like about the experience. They should be short and simple, as you don't want to take up too much of your customers' time.
- In addition, many companies offer some incentive for a customer to take survey, as most customers don't want to take the time to do it. Really, they are doing you a service by providing you with information, and by rewarding them, you show you value their time. Try offering a coupon or something small for free if they fill out your survey.
- For the majority of the survey, rating questions will probably work best. That is, you have a question, and you tell your customer to rate the experience on a scale, such as 1 to 10. However, it's also good to have an open-ended question so your customer can provide feedback in ways that you didn't think of, such as "What did you like best about your experience today?" followed by "Where you unhappy about anything with your experience today?"
Conduct focus groups.Focus groups are when you invite small groups of people in to examine a product or service. You can use your friends and family as a focus group if you are a new business, for instance, or you can pay customers to participate in your focus group to learn more about your business. Essentially, focus groups are like a group interview, generally focused on one product or service.
Use web analysis.When your customers browse your website, they are providing you with valuable information you can use to put your customers at the center. Analytic software can tell you how your customers are browsing, what they're looking at, and what just doesn't work on your website.
Look at secondary research.Secondary research is research that someone else has performed for another purpose. For instance, you can use census data research to find out about the people in your area, which can help you identify who is most likely to use your product.
Talk to your customers.Sometimes, it's easy to overlook just talking things over with your customers face-to-face. Your customers know what they want, and if you take the time to ask them questions and see what's working and what's not, you can better understand how to serve them.
- For instance, when a customer comes in, take the time to ask some questions, such as, "Is there anything that could be better today?" or "What are we not doing that could make your experience better?"
Update research constantly.Your customers will not stay the same over time. That means that you must continue to do research on your customers, so that you can continue to make them the focus of your business.
Building a Relationship
Make a profile.Once you do your research, it's time to make a profile of your ideal customer is. This profile should include information like age ranges, economic background, marriage status, and other demographic information. Ideally, you should also have more information than just demographic. You should know what kinds of things your customer likes to do, what they enjoy in their spare time, the kind of lifestyles they lead, and what they value.
Train your employees to offer customer focus.One big aspect of developing a customer focus for a business is to make sure staffers understand their roles in approaching the business with a customer focus. This approach includes elements of customer service, but at its core, customer focus is about keeping attention on the customers, anticipating their needs and valuing their input.
Build rapport.Encourage your employees to build rapport with your customers, such as asking questions when they come in, engaging them in conversations, and remembering their likes and dislikes. Customers like to feel like they're wanted and appreciated, and building rapport helps put them at the center.
Treat your customers as equals.That is, your customers don't want to be talked down to. Be transparent about your goals as a business. First, understand what your customers value. Next, make sure your company's values are inline with those values, and then show your customers how what you value is similar to what they value. If you can get them to emotionally invest in your company, you'll build long-term customers.
Create beautiful spaces.While it may seem like this step isn't about building a relationship, it really is. When you create a beautiful space for customers to step into, both in person and on the web, you are saying you value them as a customer and want them to have a good experience. In other words, creating beautiful spaces is nonverbal way of saying to customers that they matter.
- Part of creating beautiful spaces is creating spaces that are easy to navigate. That means making professional websites that your customer can easily find his or her way through, without getting stranded on pages that have no way back to the main page. The same is true in person. Your spaces should guide the customer through your product's experience.
- In addition, helping your customers navigate your spaces and services is important. Have people on hand who can guide your customers through the first time.
Work your business copy.Make all of your business communications and business copy adopt a customer-focused tone and outlook. After all, for most businesses, customers get the majority of their information about a company from what they read, through a website, print brochures or literature, or social media. Make sure your business literature is professional, but that it also keeps your customer in mind.
- For instance, if your customers are more health-conscious than the average customer, emphasizing the richness of a product may not work as well as advertising what's healthy about the food you're producing.
Putting Your Customers' Needs First
Provide experience enhancers.Whatever your product, your customer is going to be happier if you can provide opportunities to enhance the experience. For instance, if you are selling music, you could provide information on related music to what your customer is considering. You could have ways to compare products, or you could group like products and ideas together, making it easier to shop. Anything that provides a better experience for your customer is going to show them that you put them at the center.
Make customer service accessible.If your customers have to jump through hoops just to get some help, they will not be happy with your service. In addition, all customer service should be provided in as a polite and helpful manner as possible. In other words, your customer needs to be able to get to customer service easily, whether on your website, in person, or by phone, and your customer should be served in a timely and positive manner.
Offer enough payment methods.Payment methods continue to evolve. Pay attention to what's on the horizon, and offer payment methods that your customers want to actually use. Doing so shows you value what they want.
Be willing to move beyond pure economics.When you value what your customer needs, you need to be willing to design a beautiful product or services. Sometimes, that means choosing an option that is not the cheapest to produce. If you make something that is beautiful that your customers want, they will pay more for it.
Learn from your mistakes and successes.Every time a customer uses your service or product, you have an opportunity to learn from that. Regularly examine what works and what doesn't, and use that information to guide your future decisions.
Consider providing customer incentives.Incentives, whether they are in the form of temporary sale offers, rebates, rewards programs, or targeted giveaway programs, are often a major part of customer focus. When you have identified what customers like, you can use these items to continue to reach out to your customer base.
QuestionHow do I know when a customer is satisfied with the service?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWith the help of customer feedback and surveys, you can gauge whether or not your customer was satisfied with the service you provided.Thanks!
Video: Customer Focus Animated
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