Few things can kill your business faster than becoming irrelevant to your customers. The hard fact of business is that change is inevitable, while you can be on trend and meeting needs and wants one day, there is no guarantee that it will be the same the next.
With greater competition, new technology and changing customer demands how do you ensure you stay relevant in the mind of your customers?
1. Stay connected
When we start out in business, we are more open to input. In fact, we actively seek it to make sure we are on track and that our customers are happy. We value customer feedback, listen to concerns and promptly make changes to rectify problems. While some businesses continue this process, many others don’t.
It’s almost like there is a certain point in business where we know better. We have the experience and industry knowledge now, we know what is happening and what our customers want – so we no longer ask them.
We detach and become so focused on growth and development that we lose that customer connection we so desperately need to stay relevant and meet growing needs. Our time becomes precious. We limit the calls and meetings we have and opt for an email – bulk email – to stay in touch and “save time”.
We start to tell more than we ask, push more than we pull. But to weather the storm of changing needs and wants we need to connect with our customers. We need to understand their purchase decisions, why they make them and how we can make the experience better, and this comes from talking to them, not just looking at the numbers.
2. Understand how your customers use your products and services
When we developed our products and services we knew the problem they solved and how we thought they should be used. But that is only one perspective. Your customers may have a completely different idea or purpose for your products or services.
They may even use them to solve problems you hadn’t thought of, or didn’t know they solved. By understanding how your customers use and want to use your products and services you can start to identify limitations and opportunities to make them even more relevant going forward.
3. Know why your customers do business with you
Do you know why your customers chose to do business with you over your competitors? What was special or different about you? What did you provide that no one else did or did as well? What got them over the line?
Once you know the bigger reason of why they chose and valued your business you can ensure this is prioritised, communicated and maintained even when you need to change, adapt and expand to suit needs and wants.
4. Sell the experience, not the product or service
The moment you start selling a product or service by its features and benefits you compete with everyone in your industry. But when you sell the experience, tell the story, share the vision or back the cause your customers are buying something else entirely. Your customers no longer compare you in the same way – you are in a different league.
This shift creates loyalty not just at a product or service level; it creates loyalty at a company-wide level so when your customers do change, or when you introduce new products and services and try to upsell, cross-sell or resell customers, holding onto them and converting them is far easier.
How do you stay relevant in the mind of your customers?