Q: How could you find out what your customers want?
A: Ask them.
It really is as simple as that. So why are more business owners not doing it?
Leading Dundee accountancy firm MMG Archbold was one of Commsbank’s first clients and has been a loyal customer ever since. 2020 marks the company’s centenary and we agree that providing support and advice to local companies for 100 years deserves to be celebrated. Managing partner Paul Crichton wanted to ensure his client’s voice was being heard and their needs met, so asked Commsbank to conduct customer interviews with several clients from a variety of industries and service levels.
The conversations allowed Paul to take the pulse of MMGA: what services did they deliver well, what could they do better and what did his customers think of the company’s proposed service offering going forward? Talking to a third party such as myself allowed for honest and frank conversations and provided an opportunity to gather impartial feedback by listening to the experiences of clients without assumed knowledge or expectation. We then compiled a comprehensive report of the findings that included recommendations for improving the customer experience with some suggested tweaks to process that would not have been considered otherwise, and practical considerations to ensure future communications and marketing efforts were meaningful and impactful for current clients as well as potential customers.
Throughout this process Paul and his team at MMGA have shown a genuine commitment to provide excellent customer service. They know that their customers have a choice and have not taken them for granted. With Commsbank support they have listened to their customer’s feedback to enhance their offering and step into the next century with customer insight and engagement. Well done MMGA!
It’s important to remember that without your customers your business simply would not exist. Some businesses are so focused on winning new customers that they often neglect to put any effort into retaining the customers they already have. Winning new customers is often far more expensive than retaining existing ones. Winning a new contract may cost time in terms of developing a sales pitch and cash in terms of corporate entertainment in order to win over your target client. By contrast, retaining an existing customer might be as simple as sending them a thank you card, or asking them what they think about your services and how you can improve their experience.
Customers of any business generally fall into three categories:
Loyal customers won’t leave for another product or service provider – even if a special offer is put to them. At the very minimum they will give their existing supplier the opportunity to meet or beat the offer. Maintaining loyal customers is an integral part of any business. Over time it has been proven that loyal customers will spend more with you and they will refer new clients to you.
Satisfied customers are customers who are open to a better offer from the competition. They feel that the product or service they are receiving is on a par with other offerings in the market but they are open to switching to something better given the right opportunity or special offer.
Dissatisfied customers are not happy with your product or service. Some will complain, giving you the opportunity to target the customer with client retention measures. However, for every complaint that is received from discontented customers, there will be several who will complain to their friends or publish their complaints online. These customers must be targeted pre-emptively with customer retention tools.
The goal of any business is to move the customers up along the customer chain. Dissatisfied customers move to the satisfied category, satisfied customers move to the loyal customer category and the business continues to look after the life-blood that is the loyal customer category. Identifying and categorising each customer will take time and effort, however it will be worth the effort if it helps you retain some hard-earned clients.
Businesses constantly strive to grow their client base and to do this they must go out and put time and money into sales and marketing efforts. It’s during these times that many businesses take their eyes off satisfying their current customers which can result in customers leaving.
Don’t let this happen to you. Find out what your customers want in 2020 by asking them. If you don’t have the time, or if you are fearful of what they might (or might not) tell you then Commsbank can help. Get in touch!