Practicing good bookkeeping is one of the most important habits to form as a business owner. If you’ve ever seen the show Shark Tank, you know the investors are always keen to ask contestants about their numbers and profits. However, numbers aren’t the only thing you need to know backward and forward. To build your business, you have to master the marketing basics, one of which is really knowing your customers.
Knowing your customers is about more than jotting down a list of names and phone numbers. You need to know what problems your customers are facing, what you do to solve them, and how to communicate your offering with them.
When you started your businesses, you were probably close to your customers and in tune with their needs. As time goes on, you might begin to feel distance between yourself and your customer. We’ll talk about some ways to get back in touch with them and keep your understanding of your customers up-to-date.
How Well Do You Know Your Customers?
When you started your business, you might’ve been very in touch with what they wanted and needed. You were likely taking care of visiting job sites, sales, and the work itself, which meant spending a lot of time with your customers.
As your business has grown, you have probably moved further and further away from the day-to-day workings of your business. Make no mistake, this is a good thing — it means that you’re correctly delegating tasks in your business and reducing stress for yourself. Losing touch with your customers is just an inconvenient side effect.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t stress out. There are plenty of ways to keep up with your customers’ needs from an ownership position. We’ll go into detail on our four favorite ways to get an idea of what your customers are looking for from you.
1. Sit in on a Meeting with a Customer
Take the opportunity to sit in on the next meeting between one of your employees and a customer. The benefits of this are two-fold: you get to see your employee in action and evaluate their performance, and you might also find out things about the customer that you didn’t know before.
Find out what they want out of their project and any expectations they have of your company. If you’ve been working with this customer for a while, find out how their project has been going. Is there any feedback they’d like to give your company? How can you use that feedback to improve your business processes?
Try to make this a once-a-month habit and mix up the types of meetings you attend. If you sit in on a pre-construction meeting this month, maybe look in on a job site next month.
2. Listen to Sales/Inbound Calls
Recorded calls are a valuable asset for your company. Adopt a call recording software (such as CallRail) to record and store your calls. You don’t have to listen only to sales calls. Try tuning into other types of inbound calls to find out what customers are asking for.
You might identify weaknesses or opportunities for improvement in your sales processes that you didn’t know were there before.
3. Perform Qualitative Surveys
When we say qualitative surveys, we’re talking about more than 1-10 ratings for your business. Instead of asking for feedback in the form of numbers, call your customers and ask them questions that elicit more complex answers.
If you work with subcontractors or builders, you might ask them if they’ve encountered any issues in working with your business, what the last project you worked together on was, how current projects are going, if there are delays or issues with materials, etc.
If you work with residential customers, your questions might be a bit different. Maybe you’ve already completed a project with them, and you’d like to check-in and see how your company’s work is holding up. You might also ask them if they have any friends or neighbors who might be interested in your services.
Asking your customers these types of questions can be daunting, but the feedback you get is invaluable to your business.
4. Monitor Activity on Social Media
Check your social accounts to see what types of customers are engaging with your company. Take a look at your customers’ social media accounts to see if they’re posting about any trends or interesting topics in your area of expertise. Most of the time, you probably won’t find anything there that’s relevant to your business, but every so often, they might create an opportunity for you.
How Well Do You Know Your Customers?
As you experiment with the suggestions above, the most important thing you can do is look for trends. Is there anything constantly coming up in surveys and calls? What about your customer meetings? What ideas and questions are recurring? As you identify trends, see how they might allow you to make better decisions and processes for your business.
Getting to know your customers is essential for creating and maintaining business for your company. A lot of people assume that customers are always the same, or they assume that their status as a business owner entitles them to magically know what a customer wants. But customers change, and their wants and needs change, too.
If you think you may not understand your customer as well as you’d like to, try out the four steps we outlined above. If you’ve done that but aren’t sure where to take that information, schedule a Free Growth Assessment with our team to start developing a strategic game plan.