Every step we take as business owners is a step toward getting more customers.  It can be a job in itself to keep up with SEO/SEM and Social Media, but what do you really know about your customers?

Let’s talk about how our technology and economy has impacted your customers and what you can do about it.

The world has become much bigger for consumers.  Your customers are not as loyal as they once were.  Not only do they have more choices of where they will shop, eat and learn; they don’t trust businesses.  The crisis in the economy created an environment of skepticism and customers are not so quick to give you their business before they trust your brand. Getting more customers means understand what they want.

In this information age your customers have almost unlimited choices and with social media sharing, comparison/review sites they are spending more time checking you out before they commit to spending their money at your business.

This overload of data can actually make it harder for your customers to actually make a choice.  Most consumers do not have much disposable income and spending that income means that customers are looking more for solutions to their needs over products.  Yes, it seems that may be the same thing to you but for your customers there is a big difference in justifying their purchases.

It’s going to be vital for you to really understand and speak to your customers/clients in a way that those customers can understand and trust.

Steps you can take to increase your business and get more customers
Look at your business from a customer’s viewpoint

You may need some help for this exercise.  It can be difficult for us to step away from our own knowledge and perception of our own business.  Create a persona for your idea customer, you may end up creating several personas but this is the first step to seeing your product or service through their eyes and understanding how your idea customers benefits from those products.

As a web solutions company, we have our own unique vantage point into the minds of business owners seeking to increase sales.  One of the most difficult areas we face is the perception that there is no need to change the way they do business.  In some cases the development of a website is a task taken on reluctantly and only after extreme pressure from a partner or family member.

This mentality is dangerous.  Creating a customer magnet online takes time.  Too often a business owner only seeks help in the 11th hour and by then it’s too late.  If your business is not on top of how customers are shopping, your competitors will enjoy the success created by reducing you as one of their hurdles.

Involve every member of your staff
Think of your business as a box, there are 4 sides, a top and bottom.  From where you stand you may clearly see one or two sides of this box but other staff or employees may see sides that you don’t.  Get a clear image of how your business can improve customer experience by discovering how each side of that box is helping or deterring current and future business. 

You might be surprised to discover the ideas and opinions that come from those employees that are behind the scenes.

When businesses come to us for complete business solutions, the first step we take is to talk with each employee, not just to sales.  Dynamics within your business, that you might not think impact the bottom line, can be a huge road block to growing your business.

Ask your customers

There are ways to ask for opinions that don’t leave your business vulnerable to undo criticism.   Instead of asking what you’re doing wrong, ask what part of your customers experience was most memorable.  Instead of asking what product is least favored, ask your customers to share a wish list of products that they would enjoy using, eating etc.

For those that fear the negative responses that may come from asking opinions you must understand two things. 

1)    It’s the information sharing age.  Just because you don’t ask doesn’t mean your customers don’t already speak about your business.
2)    The way you respond to negative comments can actually improve the trust factor for your business.

I spend my off time playing mindless games on Face book.  It’s how I shut down my brain for a bit.  I tend to drop in to the fan pages of a few of these games to see what others are saying about the overall experience and how these game developers are responding.

There is one long standing fact in business, you can’t make everyone happy.  It’s just not going to happen, there are going to be people that complain because that is what they do.  A small percentage of consumers have discovered that complaining to a company (even if there was not a real problem) can result in freebies.   Don’t get caught up with these people.

Your customers expect complaints.  As a matter of fact, I recently read a poll result that talked about the impact of Yelp reviews and it may surprise you to know that consumers had less trust for a business when that business had no negative comments.

Your customers are better educated.  They know there may be mistakes or problems; they want to see how they will be treated by you when and if, they need help after the sale. 

Ignoring the needs and wants of your customers is just bad business.  The reach that each new customer has through their circle of influence is getting bigger and bigger.

Start employing the tips shared in this article today and see for yourself how business can change and how you have new customers out there right now, they’re looking for you.  Are they finding you or your competitors?
Complete Web Solutions can help your business.  We are based in the United States and work with and for American Business owners.  Contact us today.  719 302-5029, we understand.