As a business owner, we’re often pulled in different directions simultaneously, so it can be difficult to sit back and look at your business. However, as a business owner, it is critical that you spend time working on your business and not just in it. This will give you the perspective you need to make changes to the processes, your brand or perhaps to review your product or service to ensure that it is still relevant to your customers.
Start with the big picture
Begin by looking at where your business is at right now. Think about the following questions:
- Are you meeting your financial goals?
- Are you still attracting new customers?
- If you are, are you attracting the right customers for your business?
- Are you retaining customers?
Think about this, if you are selling a widget that was relevant when you created it in 2010, that same widget may not be relevant in 2017. So how can you discover what changes you need to make to your product or service?
Talk to your customers
You’ve probably been told that you need to be talking to your customers, which is all well and good… but what do you say? It’s always good to check-in to see if the service that you are providing is working for them and whether you can improve the process, but again, how?
So let’s talk about more than just “you should be talking to your customers” and discuss “how and what”.
Ask the right questions
When you reach out to clients, it’s important that you’re not just pumping them for information. You need to connect with your customers, talk to them about their challenges and above all listen to where they are at. Listening can give you an insight into their challenges and more importantly, give you an understanding of what you can change or provide to help them.
Ensure that you formalise the process by putting together a questionnaire that you can run through with them. This of course, will be specific to your industry, but the key elements are similar. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Does your product or service work?
- Is it meeting their expectations?
- What do they like or dislike?
- Can they see areas for improvements?
- How does their team use your product or service?
- Getting this kind of feedback is invaluable to your business. It not only gives you the insight to make changes to your product or service, but to potentially grow your offering and expand your business.
Read between the lines
After you’ve met with your customers, it’s time to collate the data and identify areas for improvement. This is more than just listening to the specific needs of your customer, it’s about reading between the lines to exceed their expectations and deliver the goods. Don’t be disheartened if you have found areas for improvement that you didn’t see before. Regardless of the outcome, being an informed business owner is powerful and keeps you in the driver’s seat for where your business goes next.
There is a famous quote by Henry Ford about customer needs, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. As a business, you need to think more about how I can give my clients the next level of service, rather than just giving them what they need.
You see, sometimes your customer don’t realise what they need. They too are working in their business so knowing exactly what they need is just as tough for them as it is for you!
Once you’ve collated the data from your research, you can then determine what is and isn’t working and how you can implement changes to remain relevant to your existing customers and attract new customers!
Check back in with your customers
When you have conducted research with your customers, checking back in with them will give them a sense of satisfaction that they have helped you, but more than this, that you listened.
Talk to them about the changes that you made and perhaps suggest other options that you have identified that could help them and how it could be implemented.
While you’re there, you could even talk to them about referring your service to others, keeping in mind that your best source of new business is via your current customers.
Whilst doing a review of your offering is a great thing to do, it is just as important to keep it regular. Don’t make this process a once-off campaign and end it there. By undertaking this process every 12 months or so, you not only give your customers an opportunity to connect and discuss options, but you could also upsell and expand on the number of services or products you offer them. Those opportunities are generally limited, so this process not only gives you the platform to change, but to grow!
I’d love to know how you go with your review. You can find me on most social media platforms.
Until next time, Belinda