Growing Your Business

Your customers are the heart of your business, and their opinions, perceptions or even general awareness of your business can mean the difference between your business operation growing or struggling. The good news is that you have the opportunity to influence the perception of your business. Here are some tips on how to make the most of it:

Know your customer. Know yourself.

Take time to define your target customer. First ask yourself, "Who gets the most benefit from the goods and/or services I provide?" Next, create a customer profile. How old is the customer? How about hobbies or income? What is the customer’s need and can my product/service effectively meet it?

Whatever you do, resist the urge to market yourself to "everybody". When you define a target customer, you’re also defining yourself. Skipping this step means you’re depriving yourself of a strong brand identity and value proposition.

Be Seen AND Heard

There are many convenient ways to communicate with your customer, including email, mobile and social channels. And they’re all great ways to keep your customers interacting with your business on a regular basis. Let them know you’re running a sale. Invite them to a customer appreciation event. Tell them when you’re selling a new product. Regardless of the message, just remember that good communication is comprised of both visibility and strong content — you can’t have one without the other. If you want customers to be engaged, you have to be engaging.

Your customer is a person, first and foremost

Customer experience is key. And it’s surprisingly easy to make your business stand out from the competition by providing your customer with two simple things: value and respect. When you go the extra mile to deliver an outstanding product, service or quality of experience, it won’t go unnoticed.

Focus on providing your customers with a great experience. People like to share their experiences online and many people make their shopping and purchasing decisions based on input from their social circles. If you go the extra mile, customers are more likely to sing your praises. But remember, they can just as easily tell their online social circles to stay clear of your business. So it’s vital that you quickly address any negative experiences and let customers know that you care about their business.

Hear what they have to say

Asking for customer feedback is a great way to show your customers that you care about their experiences with your business. Gather feedback through comment cards, social media, email or traditional mail.

But don’t let feedback be a one-way street. Every customer comment is an opportunity to have a conversation about how you’re improving your business to meet their needs. Respond to customer feedback in thoughtful, respectful ways. This sends a great message to your customers about how much you value their business.