How to Keep Focused on Your Customer
Whatever business you’re in, it’s probably a good idea to keep the boss happy. That’s true for contractors too, except for this one little caveat: The boss ain’t you. Your customer is in charge. And more so every day.
Customers do their own home improvement research, and they often study what they need in system replacements before they ever give you a call. (So don’t try to “sweet talk” them into something they don’t need. Not only will it backfire, so will their negative word-of-mouth in reviews and Social Media.)
They’ve also got the option of big-box home improvement stores and a bazillion DIY online videos to decide whether they want to take on their own repair – so don’t try to overprice or underperform. But do remember who’s in charge. And also remember the other side of this equation: the value you bring in experience and expertise, as well as in your quality products and superior service. There isn’t a DIY video in the world that can take the place of your role as an in-home advisor focused on solving your customer’s problem.
The Customer is King?
Marketing is undergoing a bit of a shift in trends. The traditional focus learned in business school of product, place, price and promotion is moving on to another alliteration: customer-centric. If you have no idea what’s on your customers’ minds, chances are, you aren’t very “customer-centric.” But keeping that pair of C’s at the center of your thinking is how you earn an A in your image and reputation.
By nurturing and sustaining relationships with customers, you build and grow your business – and it’s your truest competitive edge. So, what are some ways to keep your focus on your customer?
For starters, recognize the difference between facts and assumptions. Perhaps you think you know what customers want. You could be right, but just because you have a hunch doesn’t mean it lines up to data. Because you could also be wrong.
Listen to your customers through personal contact, Social Media interaction, review comments, surveys and other areas of feedback to get a sense of what’s important to them, what helps them move forward in their decision-making and why they would stick with a company as a loyal customer.
Getting to know your customers is the best bet for keeping them – and part of that is understanding how they live their lives. For example, offering contracting products that incorporate smart technologies that can be accessed from any location is an example of meeting customers “where they are” (which is on the go).
While understanding who your customers are is one part of putting customers first, here’s another essential component: knowing who you are as a brand and as a company. What are your values? What are your unique attributes? What are the benefits that you bring to the market that no one else offers? Knowing your customer and understanding what you stand for show you how you can meet their expectations and answer your promises to them.
Get Your Whole Team on Board
While being customer-centric starts at the top, it certainly doesn’t end there. And nothing says “half-hearted” like having half the people on your team forgetting who’s boss. Your “customer-centric” focus should be easily recognizable as part of your overall mission. In fact, it should be incorporated into your company culture and include everyone – not just the usual customer-contacting crew of salespeople or in-home techs or call-takers. Anyone who interacts with your customer has a chance to build or tear down your reputation as a customer-focused company.