by Dan Beaulieu
No matter what business you’re in, the lifeblood of that business is your customer base. It’s pretty obvious that without customers you have no business. The reason you got in business in the first place was to serve your customers. This means that as a business owner you have to spend as much time as possible trying to know your customers. You can do this by studying their buying habits and thus learning why people buy from you. This is why you should work to get to know your customers.
This is important in all types of small businesses, but it is especially important in the service sector where you go to people’s houses to work on anything from their plumbing to their yards to their basement to their roof, always keeping in mind that the success of your business is reliant on how happy you make those customers. As any good businessperson knows, it’s not about that one-time event but rather developing a long-term relationship with your customer.
Supermarkets know this, and they work very hard at making their customers, customers for life. They don’t look at the $100 worth of groceries you bought this we, they look at $100 you will buy for 52 weeks for the next 20 years for the over $100,000 worth of groceries you will buy from them.
Whether you own a restaurant or a landscaping business, or a painting business your goal is to turn customers into customers for life. And the best way to do this is to develop a complete understanding of each of your customers including their likes and dislikes, the special things you do for them to keep them coming back.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask (and answer about your customers whether your selling groceries, or pizza or lawnmowers.
The questions should range from things like age, race, married, or single, etc., like the supermarkets use all the time…what do you think those wonderful loyalty cards are for? They are intended to develop an entire consumer profile on you, including and, most importantly, your buying habits.
But for those of us in small business the date we need to collect is more in line with how we can service our customers better. Here are some examples:
If you’re a landscaper, what kind of flowers do they like? What kind of stonework? How do they like their lawn mowed? All the time trying to find a way to make them a customer for life.
If you own a restaurant, get to know things like: How often to your customers come in? Where do they like to sit? What do they like to drink? And in the restaurant business, the most important fact of all, what are their names? Everybody, and I mean everybody, (unless they are in the witness protection plan) loves being greeted by somebody saying their name when they come in a restaurant!
Companies who are serious about growing their business will be smart to learn everything they can about their customers. It’s without a doubt the best way to grow your business.