As a business owner, you should understand that focusing on the needs of your customers will play an important role in determining whether your products and services fail or succeed. It's not enough to use customer service tools to help your team address your customers' concerns, your business needs to be customer-driven as well.
What does it mean to be a customer-driven company?
A customer-driven company puts customers' needs and success at the center of its business strategy. You have to understand what your customers want and need and what their motivations are. Here's an example:
Your company is developing a new email application for small businesses. Being customer-driven means you should know:
- What types of emails your customers send
- How frequently they send emails
- The average number of emails they send
- The problems they encounter when using the application
- What your customers expect out of your email application
- What value your email application can provide that others can not
A customer-driven business uses this information to develop products. Unfortunately, many businesses follow the "if you build it, they will come" approach, introducing products and features designed simply to sell and not to meet consumers' requirements.
Customer-driven vs. customer interaction
Businesses interact with their customers regularly. But simply providing support, sending emails, and making sales, don’t mean that a company is customer-driven. Most business-to-customer interactions, such as sales, marketing, and support, are not used to learn what customers need, but rather, to reach an immediate positive result for the company.
What's more, the agents interacting with these customers are not incentivized to learn about their clients’ specific needs. Instead, they interact with customers to meet performance metrics like the amount of data gathered, hours spent talking with clients, tasks completed, and tickets closed.
There are also some companies that claim they are customer-driven just because they are data-driven. But being data-driven is not the same as being customer-driven. For instance, Quantitative data can show you what is or is not happening, but it can't tell you why something is or is not happening.
If you want to be a true customer-driven company, you should:
1. Identify what you don't know
When you roll out new products and services, there's usually a big knowledge gap between what you know about your product and what customers know about their needs. You should be able to recognize this gap and fill it through customer research, instead of relying on biased assumptions.
2. Perform learning-based conversations with customers
A report by HubSpot said that roughly 42% of businesses that claim to be customer-driven don't even listen to what their customers have to say.
To be truly customer-driven, you must conduct learning-based conversations with your customers. The goal is to learn more about your clients so you can make your products and services more useful to them. It's not about making a sales pitch or closing a ticket, it's all about making the customer's experience better.
3. Share customer insights across the office
Customer insights should never be kept in silos. Instead, they should be shared with every team and department in your organization. This will help you get a clearer understanding of how your products and services are doing and what your customers are specifically looking for in a particular product.
Author Bernadette Jiwa once said, "whoever gets closest to their customer wins." In order for your company to be successful, you should not only be close to your customers, but you should also adapt to their changing needs. Learning to do so takes work, but the rewards of being customer-driven are worth the cost.
Without proper knowledge of what your customers are looking for, you'll end up developing the wrong products and struggling to sell them.
To ensure you're always staying in touch with your customers, you'll need a reliable VoIP provider like Safebit Solutions. We use state-of-the-art telephony systems that allow you to effectively communicate with your customers and clients. Call us now to learn more.