The customer is always right. This is a phrase you’ve heard countless times over the years, but is there any truth to it? I feel like some people take this out of context and slap a very literal meaning onto things.
It doesn’t mean that, regardless of what they say, the customer is always 100% right about everything. Instead, it’s more of a comment on how you should treat your customers. Treat them with respect, but most importantly, pay attention to what they say and do.
It’s the second part of that sentence that I want to talk about today. You can use your customers to improve your business - but only if you’re savvy about how you do it. Don’t just see them as individuals with dollar signs above their heads, start looking at things from a different perspective.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to using your customer to improve and grow your business:
Pay attention to buying habits
The first idea is to look at the habits of your customers. This is easily done in this day and age. You should have some sort of analytics software that shows you what people are buying. Things are even easier if most of your sales are made online. Either way, you can track what your customers are buying and what they’re not buying.
Consequently, you can see what products and services are the most popular. Which ones are flying off your shelves, and which things are just collecting dust. By understanding this, you can start pushing and promoting your popular products more than others. Not only that, but you can perhaps invest less time and energy in the products/services that aren’t doing very well.
The overall result is that you can influence more sales by focusing on what you know works. If your customers are all buying this one product/service, then you know it must be fantastic. Put more of your marketing budget into this specific thing, and you can find new customers to bring in.
Look through customer reviews
It’s always excellent to see what people think of your business. Now, you can get specific feedback from your customers, but we’ll discuss that later. For now, the focus of this point is customer reviews.
You need to set up a system where people can review your business online. This can be done on Google, or you can use the Feefo Review Platform instead. It lets your customers post whatever they like about you - and believe me when I say they won’t hold back. If they have something positive to say, then they will let everyone know how amazing you are. But, if they have a negative experience, then you best believe they’ll let the whole world know.
Don’t worry, you can use both positive and negative reviews to your advantage.
With positive reviews, it’s relatively obvious what needs to be done. You look at all the good stuff being said about you, and you take it all on board. Listen to your customers, pay attention to what they’re saying. If they praise certain aspects of your service, then take note of this. Continue to improve those things, and you will enhance the customer experience. As a result, you inspire loyalty in your customers. Repeat business leads to a profit increase!
With negative reviews, it’s slightly harder. Firstly, you have to push your emotions aside. It’s always a good idea to respond to negative reviews, but take the time to calm yourself down first. You don’t want to end up doing more damage!
Instead, look at what they’re complaining about/criticizing, and think about if it’s true. Could you improve on certain aspects of your business? Were you at fault for whatever it is they’re annoyed at? If you were, then address this and apologize. Then, tell the customer what you’ll do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
In some ways, negative reviews are better than positive ones. A negative review tells you where you’re going wrong, which lets you see where you can improve. Obviously, improving the customer experience won’t just help you retain customers, it helps you gain them. Plus, responding to negative reviews improves your brand reputation. Other people will see that you’re making an effort to address negative reviews and will be impressed. It shows you’re a company that cares, and they’ll like that!
Ask for specific feedback
Clearly, customer reviews are a type of feedback. However, it’s feedback that you didn’t technically ask for. It’s more of an open forum where anyone can say what they like without your invitation. You will definitely benefit from reviews, but you need to combine this with other forms of feedback too.
The best approach is to create your own feedback forms. Every business needs to do this regularly throughout the year. Feedback forms should focus on specific things that you’re keen to learn more about.
For example, you may have one that’s dedicated to your website. From here, you ask questions about the site to see what people think about it. All of the feedback should be anonymous, so nobody is afraid to be truthful. Now, you have lots of data that tells you your customer’s opinions on a particular topic.
This is a brilliant way of seeing how successful different areas of your business are. Feedback lets you know what you’re doing well and where you can improve. If there are certain areas of your business you’re concerned about, then you can create feedback forms for them.
In fact, we can bring the first point into the mix here. We mentioned earlier how you can track buyer habits to see what people are buying or ignoring. If you find out that certain products are never being bought, then you have to figure out why this is the case. Thus, you create a feedback form and send it to your customers. Make the questions relate to this product, so you see why people aren’t interested. It lets you know if you should bother selling it, or if you can change things to make it more desirable.
The only challenge with customer feedback is that you need to actually get it. This means you have to actively ask people for feedback. Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can do this. Sending out feedback forms in emails after someone buys a product is a good idea. Sharing links to your form on social media will also be beneficial.
The hard part is encouraging people to actually open the forms and provide feedback. Again, there are ways to do this, and one of which is to provide incentives. Tell your customers that they will get something for filling in a form. It may be a discount code, a free gift, some money off their next purchase - whatever. Now, they’ll be intrigued, and are more likely to fill in a form.
Conclusion: Let your customer help your business
We may have only looked at three things in this guide, but they’re pretty substantial things. If you take all three of them into account, then you can influence your business. It’s time to start using customers and letting them help your business.
They can do so much for you, without really having to do anything at all! Track their buying habits to stay on top of what’s selling and what’s not. Go through customer reviews and take on-board all the positives and negatives. Finally, ask for feedback on specific areas of your company to see how you can improve.
If you do all of this, then you know how to take your business forward. As a result, you can encourage customer loyalty, gain new customers, and boost your sales.