These days, customers are spoilt for choice—whether they’re buying products or accessing services—their ability to shop around online makes it easy for them to find us, and our competitors!
We know that quality, pricing and brand loyalty come into play when customers decide to buy, but recent research suggests that in the not too distant future, customer service will play an increasingly significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
In its Customers 2020 report, Walker Information suggests companies will need to focus more on the experiences they deliver to their customers and less on product and pricing strategies. This will be a huge shift for those businesses more comfortable dealing with hard numbers and less with intangible and somewhat unpredictable customer expectations.
“However I believe most businesses have the key to predicting the unpredictable and improving their customer service—customer data.”
More than ever before, businesses have access to tools that provide information about their customers—what they like and are ambivalent about, what engages them and what makes them ‘click’. Business analytics, Google analytics, customer relationship management systems and Facebook insights, not to mention the instant and very public feedback received on various forms of social media, can all deliver great data. But gathering data is just the first step—the real value is in using it.
Analysing data takes time and for time poor small business owners, it can often take a back seat in favour of tasks seen as more important ‘right now’. But if your business is collecting data, you must invest the time to look at it!
Many business tools provide useful, free reports that if run and monitored regularly, will provide great insights to inform strategy and direction, and will help you tailor services to better meet customer needs.
Certainly for PaySmart, our ‘full service’ at no extra cost is one of our strongest points of difference—but we can’t rest on our laurels. We also need to keep taking the time to look at our data and talk to our customers so we can seize the opportunities to do better.
Customer expectations are already high and are predicted to go higher. Customers want us to anticipate their needs, solve their problems before they happen and deliver products with outstanding service. They want their expectations met and exceeded and if we don’t, they won’t hesitate to look to our competitors.
What customer data is your business collecting? Are you using it to its full potential?