For any entrepreneur, the need to understand your customer is paramount. The majority of the time, understanding your customer is about understanding what your customers want from your specific product and service; by gaining this valuable insight, you can tailor your business offering to your customers’ specific needs.
Understanding your customer is also vital in regards to the base business itself. It’s more than possible that a business offers a great product or service, but is lacking in terms of the basics, causing customers to go elsewhere.
Below is a list of the simple requirements that every customer - no matter their demographic, preferences, or prior experience - expects from every business, so you can be sure you have the fundamentals in place.
#1 - Ease of contact
The ability to contact a business is essential for any customer, and it’s easy to see why. We’ve all heard stories about bad businesses and scams that accept payment and then vanish into thin air, and we’re all a little skeptical of every business we deal with as a result. The best way to overcome this skepticism from your customers is to ensure they can contact your business through a variety of different channels as and when suits their needs. In particular, focus on ensuring you are able to respond to social media messages as quickly as possible; studies have shown that 1 in 3 customers prefer social media customer care to telephone or email options.
#2 - A range of payment methods
If a customer wants to make a purchase, they want to do it using a method that is convenient to them. If you only accept one type of payment method, you’re immediately limiting your customer base, so offer as many options as you can reasonably afford.
Square Up is a popular card processing system that works for any business.
#3 - Data security
It’s not just scams and bad businesses that have become more prolific over recent years; data breaches, too, are regularly hitting the headlines. As a result, customers have become more aware of how businesses store and manage their personal data; if a customer suspects your business’ security is somewhat lacking, the chances are they will simply go elsewhere. It’s therefore important to work with a reputable cyber security company to fortify your customer records, and then inform customers of the protections you have in place; your customers are sure to appreciate your efforts in this important area.
#4 - Honesty
A lot is often said about the need to establish trust with your customers but, ultimately, trust is only established if the customer believes your company is open and honest. If your business makes a mistake, be honest about it; customers are more willing to forgive an honest, upfront confession than a mistake they discover for themselves. It’s also helpful to be honest about what your product or service can’t do; while this might mean losing a sale every once in awhile, this is preferable to angering a customer who discovers their purchase is not actually suitable for their needs when they had been informed otherwise.
By taking care of the areas mentioned above, you can be sure that your actual products or services are able to stand on their own merits, underpinned by the strong foundation that all customers have come to expect.