Customer is king. The customer is always right.
Those are just two of the phrases that attempt to describe to the business owner just how powerful and important the customer is. After all, he is the reason your business exists in the first place. His opinion is the only one that should count.
Woefully, not a lot of businesses understand this till it’s too late.
Understand that this goes beyond knowing who your target is and so on. It simply means do you know your customer?
Do you know what drives or motivates them? Do you know what they do, who they are, what their dreams, fears and aspirations are?
I had an experience in a neighbourhood store recently. I’d gone in to buy some groceries and home stuff – water, soap, and the likes. I was perusing the shelves, looking for something in particular when I heard someone speak over my shoulder: “Sir, I would like to speak with you about this toothpaste.”
Honestly, I do not like being interrupted in the middle of my day – especially by people with something to sell. I put a polite smile on my face, turned towards her and was about to reprimand her as gently as possible when someone else said: “He doesn’t use that toothpaste o, this is the one he uses,” pointing to the brand I use.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
I looked closely at the girl who had spoken. She didn’t look like someone I had seen before. I didn’t recognise her. And yet, she knew the name of my preferred toothpaste brand.
See Also: 35 Booming business ideas and step-by-step guides to starting them; a strategic and financial breakdown of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria.
I felt special.
Someone else would probably have insisted that the salesgirl kept talking, that maybe I would change my mind. For me, however, you would understand that it is a very unlikely way to influence my purchasing decision. In fact, the longer you go on about it, the less likely I am to buy ANYTHING from you.
Which is why I appreciate the interference of the second girl.
You see, she knows me.
Most web designers understand the biggest deal about BETA sites; they are flexible and revolve around the user experience. Once a site is launched, the users are closely monitored, and feedback is recorded and used to improve the site. What’s the point of building a product nobody can use?
Your customers are responsible for your growth and progress. Though a lot of that growth and progress rests on you, you owe them too. Think about a Facebook nobody uses or a YouTube nobody puts videos on because nobody watches. At the end of the day, the end-user – the customer – is the most important link in the supply/demand chain.
Therefore, knowing your customers is the best route to the success you want. When things slow down, and people aren’t responding like they used to, you need to be out there asking what changed? What are the things you used to do that you don’t do anymore? Is there a more affordable option available? Is there something wrong with your product which you have refused to fix or are your customers simply evolving faster than you? Whatever the reason(s), insights into your people and how they do what they do will only serve to propel you forward.
Look at Facebook for example. Since inception, the basic design has remained the same, what changes is utility and functionality. They are very aware that people are influenced mostly by visuals, so even in making the changes they make, the design/colour remains. While you may be having difficulty navigating the new functionalities, your mind is still insisting that it is the same Facebook, and that what you are looking for would be found only if you looked harder.
People are resistant to change.
Don’t be left in the Stone Age. These days, everything is moving in hyper speed and competition is a dime a dozen. Master what you’re doing, and focus intently on those who really want what you’re doing. Know them and understand their language, dreams, and desires.
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