Meeting the needs and demands of the customer while making a profit is the key to business success, and the process has become both harder and easier.
It’s easier in that modern tech makes it easier for businesses to identify, learn about and reach their market, but harder in that customers are becoming far more discerning, less loyal and have increasingly high expectations.
For example, software developments such as accounting packages make life easier for commercial customers, but they increasingly want business software to fulfilmore than one function so packages integrating accounting, sales and stock reporting and planning have been developed to meet these evolving demands.
How to meet customer demand effectively?
Knowing the customer
Who is a business’s customer? Are they of one specific gender? What age range are they in? What are their pastimes and interests?
Isolating the segment of the market appropriate for the product offering – the target market – and knowing what type of person inhabits it is key to developing an in-demand product or service.
Understanding what the customer needs
Knowing the customer’s real need – their ‘pain point’ – is the key. Much money and time has been spent in the past by organizations trying to sell goods to a market before they’ve properly understood if there is a need for it.
Much data is gathered from actual and potential customers now due to constant data capture through apps, websites and via social media so it’s easier for a business to analyze who their customer is and what they want.
Engaging with their market is now common for many organizations, so the key is in using data and social media intelligently so as to learn as much about a market as possible.
What do customers expect of a business and its products or services? A luxury car maker is expected to deliver a certain level of a ‘customer experience’ through not only the quality of the car but in the way the manufacturer themselves interact with customers through, for example, their website and dealership staff.
A company like Apple has created a standard that customers expect. For example, the company sets great store in creating a positive customer experience when people unbox their new Apple product, so the company tests and trials new materials and designs of product packaging.
Businesses need to understand their customer’s expectations and always strive to meet or even exceed them.
Efficient stock control
A classic example of increased customer demand is in delivery of a product. People don’t expect to wait long before receiving their order hence companies like Amazon – already very fast overall in fulfilling orders – are looking at methods such as using drones to make delivery even faster.
If supplying the customer quickly is important so efficient stock control is vital; too much stock and costs escalate in storage and money tied up, but too little could mean customers being made to wait with negative consequences.
It can sound a little cheesy but a ‘positive customer experience’ makes a huge difference and can even help promote customer loyalty; something that’s becoming harder to achieve in today’s more competitive marketplaces. So take the time to evaluate and enhance customer experience wherever much as possible.