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4 Things you need to know about your customers and clients

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We all know that the customer is the central focal point in business. As long as you are giving them what they want and need, you are in business. As long as you fail to do so, you might well find that you are struggling. But in order to provide exactly the service that your customer wants, you need to know quite a lot about them. Market research is no new practice, but it remains an essential one, and it is still the case that you need to research who your customer is, and as much other information about them as you can. This information is fodder for the growth of your business. Here are a few things you should endeavor to know about your customer.

1. Their basic need

Whatever it is that your business does, you need to be sure that there is a real reason for it to do it. Your customer has some basic need in relation to your business, and it is absolutely basic for you to know what that is. If you cannot be sure of what your customer needs from you, you can’t reasonably expect to give them a service which they will be happy paying for again and again. So how do you find out what your customer needs?

It’s both deceptively simple and notoriously unreliable, but there is one essential method which works overall: ask them. Yes, if you want to know what your customer needs from you – ask them. This can be an email. It might be cold calling (although, hopefully not…). It might be a case of asking for feedback after the sale, rather than trying to figure all this out beforehand. However you do it, it is essential to know, so get on it today. Once you understand their basic need, you can work towards giving it to them. That is good news for everybody.

2. Their intent

However, it is not actually always enough to know what they generally need from you. If you really want to understand your customer, you also need to figure out what their intent is. Intent is a whole other kettle of fish, and you might well be wondering why it should be important to understand the intent behind your customer’s actions. It’s simple: understanding intent means understanding the customer closer to their core. Armed with this kind of information, you can hone and fine-tune your marketing in order to bring about much more effective results. Let’s look at an example.

One area where intent is especially important is in SEO. You already know about SEO, I’m sure; it is a basic these days for businesses who want to be noticed online (and that’s all businesses). But you might not have thought much about how intent works in SEO. As it turns out, it is both fascinating and useful to know about. When people search keywords in Google or another search engine, there is clear intent behind it – they are not just random searches. So getting to the bottom of this intent can easily lead to much more successful SEO practices. Once you start doing this, you will notice that it works in other corners of your marketing as well. Discover the intent; uncover the person.

3. Their personality

Finally, we get to the question of who your customer actually is. We have looked so far at what they want and why they want it, but it’s just as important to have a sense of who they are as a person. The more you know about their personality, the more effectively you can market to them. It will also give you an opportunity to communicate with them in a more personable way.

There is an ethical concern to bear in mind here. You should be careful not to mine for data too vigorously. At no point do you want your customer to feel that you have massively intruded into their privacy. But learning a little about them, if done in the right way, can actually appear to be a show of genuine interest. If you do it right, your business will only look as though it really cares. The best way to do that, then, is to really care. Develop a culture within your business which cares for what the customer wants from life and who they are. Before long, this will happily infect every aspect of your communications with your customer, and that will benefit everyone fast.

Much of the research you do here will lead you to demographics. These are useful indicators of overall trends, and you should make use of them. But always remember the important distinction between characteristics of all of your customers on average (demographics) and characteristics of each individual customer. A good business cares about both, but more passionately about the latter.

4. Their opinion

Knowing your customer’s opinion is useful in many ways. One of the most important opinions you can possibly hope to learn of theirs is what they think of your business. If you can get a good sense of what your customers as a whole think of your business, you will know exactly where to change your practices to appeal to them all the more. One of the most common, and most effective, means of discovering this information is to ask your customer in feedback forms, usually after a purchase or experience with the business. You don’t want to bombard them with these feedback forms, but send out enough to get a good sense of what they think.

But it’s not just opinion of your own business which should concern you. You can also learn a great deal from what they think about your rival businesses. This can be especially useful, as you will know where they are lacking; essentially, you can learn from their mistakes. However, if you ask your customer outright for this information, you might land yourself in trouble. Instead, obtain legally the market research those businesses have carried out themselves. This is useful material to hold on to.

Knowledge is power, in business as in life. The more you know about your customer, the better – so get researching, and see how quickly it impacts your business.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best.We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration.

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