Many clients seek my services when they lack customer focus and are not achieving the order growth they had planned for. One of the ironies I observe is that people, who lack customer focus, will often resist obtaining it. A symptom of being “unfocused” is the belief that if people were only aware of the excellent products and services, they would buy them. Businesses following that logic will invest in advertising and social media; only to observe disappointing results. This reminds me of the American who believes foreigners will understand English if they just speak louder.
Business people generally care greatly about their customers. Customer focus, however, is acquired by developing a new attitude toward business and customers. An attitude is a habit of thought and, like any other habit, it can be difficult to break an old habit and acquire new ones. These are three measures to gauge your customer focus.
Have a list of customer-validated desired results: What customers want will drive buying decisions. Wants are associated with feelings and experiences people yearn for. A result is the observed change in measures or perceptions that occur after the purchase of a product and go far beyond the function of the product. Customer focus is identifying the expectations buyers have for what will result after a sale. A self-centered focus only studies getting the sale. Simon Sinek has described how successful companies focus on why customers want to buy their products rather than which products customers buy.
Have data from your customers regarding what they find satisfying and dissatisfying about your business and a plan to improve: Customer loyalty, or the willingness to purchase a business’ product repeatedly, is based on the complete purchase experience. The ease of ordering and paying, the warmth of product displays and service employees, and the ability to resolve product and service issues are as important as the product. And because customers’ perceptions are relative to your competition, it is impossible to understand how customers perceive you without asking them.
Desired results, product benefits, and product features are in clear alignment: The value of products and services is determined solely by the customer. Advertising and sales presentations will have little impact unless they touch on what customers want. The first bullet addresses what customers want. This bullet addresses how clearly a business satisfies a want. In short, how many of your customers are raving fans?
I welcome all comments regarding customer focus. If you have concerns about the focus of your business, please contact me at Charles@accelachv.com.