Are You in Sync with Your Customer?
What is synchronization or what is it to be in sync? It is when two or more things are adjusted to show or occur simultaneously and in harmony. Are you in sync with your customers? If you are not paying attention to your customer’s buying habits and their needs and problems, you risk falling out of sync with your customer. When that happens, you risk losing a customer.
Just what is it to be out of sync with the customer? It simply means you are no longer responding to the customer’s wants and needs. Let’s look at an example of a product that was ultimately out of sync with their customer – the Blackberry. At one time no-one, I mean no-one, could do without their Blackberry. In fact, Blackberry users began to be referred to as Blackberry “addicts.” It solved all of its customers’ needs in a compact palm held device: managing appointments, calls and more.
But then came the smartphone and instead of listening to what the customer wanted, the Blackberry continued to offer the same product. Maybe they were just slow at realizing their customer’s needs were changing as products offered in the marketplace changed. Whatever the reason, they began losing market share and when they finally looked up and saw what was happening, it was too late. Their customer had moved on. Blackberry was out of sync.
Don’t let that happen in your business. Your customer will not be dictated too, nor can they be taken for granted. At one point you may be just what they need, but you must continually listen; taking their pulse and making adjustments to deliver the answer to their problems.
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on what your customer sees as their needs. After all, you are preparing to implement your strategic plan for the New Year. By now you should have examined your competition and who appears to be their customer. Have they added new products or services? Is their business outpacing yours? Hopefully, the answer to that is no, but if it isn’t, then why not? Make the needed adjustments to be the one to solve the customer’s problem(s).
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. Luckily, there are ways to take the temperature of your customer. A few of those ways include:
Conducting customer forums or customer surveys. Find out out how your customer sees you.
If you are online (if you’re not you should be), access analytic tools to track and measure customer/audience behavior. These tools are not just for the big companies. You, too, can gather information about your potential customer.
Choose the right social media for your business. The temptation is to use as many of them as possible, but I think businesses are realizing you should only choose a few that are closely aligned with your business.
Explore programs that are available to help you manage syncing with your customer.
No matter the size of your business, you must focus on your customer or you will have no business. If you have a team working with you, you must all be in sync in your focus on the customer. To be in sync with your team communication is key.
It should be a no-brainer but take nothing for granted. Sales may be good today and tomorrow they are swept away by your competition. Keep your customer front and center in your strategic plan. Keep their wants and needs upmost. Customer needs drive customer purchases. Act, make adjustments to your products and services accordingly. Your product will remain relevant and essential and you will be in sync with your customer. The result? The customer will stay with you.
“Sometimes you are in sync with the times, sometimes you are in advance, sometimes you are late.” – Bernardo Bertolucci