Posts Tagged ‘customer focus’

Be focussed. Be specific.

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

get focussed

Don’t have a generic product, that can do lots of things.

This is especially important if you are a services company.

Ok so you can do lots of things, for lots of customers.

You are good at custom made products, or customized services.

But that is HARD to sell, pitch, understand, communicated, comprehend, remember.

MBAs teach mass customization, and a market of one. But the marketing for that is difficult.

The worst of it is – if the customer doesn’t understand all your inherent flexibility, and market of one, he might be embarrased that he doesn’t understand. Emabarrased customers just dont call you back.

You need to tell a story. That starts with your brand, the dicussions you have, and continues with brochures/websites. The story needs to be beleivable, and simple.  This, at a minimum, gives you credibility. I say simple, so it can be remembered, referenced, recalled and acted upon.

get specific

be that what your customer NEEDS

to do that ….. you need to be a cheese knife when your customer have just bought a block of cheese …. no sense in being a swiss army knife …. that makes a mess of cheese, mess of the knife, and no-one would think to use it for cheese

I  am a cheese knife

i am a    cheese   knife

customer thinks : who cares …. what is that guy smoking ?

i am a cheese knife ….

now when he buys some cheese ….. he will think …. i need a cheese knife guy …. wait I know one …..

now if you were your normal, I can do everything, swiss army knife guy ….. the customer just would have used a kitchen knife on his cheese – he’s just isnt going to ring swiss-army-knife guy.

be that cheese knife guy

Checking on your customer focus

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Discussing business with a mate today – we discussed ‘justifying your own existance’.

More people need to understand that long term they need to justify their existance.

You need to understand the value your provide your customer.

If that value is only in the one transaction, then you have a flawed business model, and probably not enough value for your customer longer term.

If you are merely selling someone elses product, and providing a match making service – then you need to be clear about that. You also need to be careful that the value you are providing is probably small.

Understanding the value chain you work within can help. You need to look at the whole transaction as viewed by your customer. What other purchases were part of the transactions. What other influences were there,  or what other people or channels lead to the transaction.

Once you understand the value chain of the transaction – you can go beyond, and look at the lifecycle of the transaction. How does the product get consumed, ans disposed of. Is there any support needed, or implementation, or does it drag other products ?

Understanding the transaction lifecycle and the value chain, you might find another way to package your transaction. You may be able to add value to the chain or the lifecycle. This might be as difficult as vertication integration, or via partnering, reselling, or simply referalls. Not only might your pie get bigger, but you may transition from a single transaction to a long term client relationship.

Remember, look from the customer point of view, what value are you providing? can you provide more value ?

The Value Leap

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

You do good work for your clients.

You want growth and to do this, generally you need more clients.

You need marketing to find the new clients.

So OK – you know about being customer focused (you read my last post).

You understand your company, but don’t describe your company to new prospects, be customer focused. The customer doesn’t really care about your company, they care about what you can do for them.

Think back to the value you give to your existing clients.

Don’t just tell your prospects about what you do, tell them the value you can give them.

This is similar to describing features and benefits. Features being things you do, and benefits being what the customer receives.

Take the conversation to the next logical step. And tell them the value, don’t make them guess, or leave it for them to interpret.

Some examples:
‘Your new furniture is great quality and unique. You’ll be very happy with it, you’ll be proud of it. Its natural timbers will make it a talking point with your friends and family.’
‘Your project will be delivered on time, and on budget. This will make your job easier. You will look good in front of your boss.’
‘With your marketing on track – you’ll get the growth you are after. You’ll get the rewards from your company that you wanted. You will feel much better about yourself. You might be able to afford some new staff, to give you more time at home with your family.’

When you are more explicit about the value, and use customer focused language, you then getting much closer to your customer. You have a shared language, and a shared view point, and often shared goals.

So take your customer focused conversation to the next step – YOU take the ‘value leap’ so that your client doesn’t have to.

Customer focus – build it into your strategy

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Are you focused on your customer ?

You should think / write / experience everything from your customer’s perspective.

Don’t write on your website ‘We are an advertising agency’. That is focused on your self. Instead try ‘helping you to get more bang for your advertising dollar’.

Your customer focus needs to be right back at the roots of your company – in your mission /vision / brand.

This is a great post by Jay Ehret about a case study.

Here is the original focus in the case study  :

Mission: To provide our customers a great value with our lines of furniture and to provide tailored furniture and services to meet their needs, striving for 100% customer satisfaction.

Vision: To be the number one destination point for furniture in the region.

Brand Promise: To provide tailored (customized) furniture and services to meet your needs.

Can you recognize above – how its inward focused ? how it’s talking about you and your company ?

Does that sound like your own mission/vision statements ?

And here is the updated version – adapted from Jay’s work:

Mission: To deliver furniture that tells stories. To alter competition from price to experience.

Vision: delivering lifestyle to customers through furniture.

Brand Promise: Come home with pride.

We are now talking about customers and experience.

We’re taking the game from furniture to experience. Customer’s will enjoy the lifestyle benefits associated with our furniture. Customers will talk to other customers about the experience at our store.

Learn more about customer experience.

Imagine the word of mouth, from a proud owner of new ‘lifestyle furtiture’. When they next have guests over – you’ll be sure they mention your store.