Become a little more obsessed with what your customers want even before they know what they want to keep them your customers for a very long time.

One of our clients has a healthy obsession for the customer!  It might drive some of his employees a little mad but it is effective.  Adopting a bit of healthy obsession for your customers can go a long way!

In this case, our client was particular with every customer-facing document, interaction, piece of information and the like.  This owner would keep track of who ordered what throughout each day, kept a pulse on what was going on vs. prior years, like years and would ask his employees who interacted with customers for customer feedback and the pulse of customers multiple times a day.  Every employee and business partner/ trusted advisor knew customers were important.

In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, keeping a pulse on customers is even more critical.  Are you assuming what customers told you a year ago still holds true?  Do you think it does?  Probably not!  Or are you relying on your salespeople to communicate changes to you?  Do you prompt them or follow any proactive measures to make sure you find out what your customers prefer?  Change is occurring on a rapid basis.  Are you asking?  For example, I’m sitting in first class on a flight to Dallas and they handed me a cookie for dessert.  He didn’t ask whether I’d want it heated up (which is the first time that happened).  That small difference made a huge difference to me.  It wasn’t worth eating cold yet I’d have loved it heated up.  I suppose it might be good that I didn’t eat it but this small question could have gone a long way with customer service.

Technology for technology sake is expensive and useless.  Put it to work.  If you have a CRM system, find a new way to use it that will give you valuable intelligence on your customers.  If you have an e-commerce site, find a way to find out more about your customers – and potential customers.  If you have access to business intelligence tools, use them to gain business intelligence on your customers’ needs.  And, if you have Excel, you can still track key characteristics about your customers.  Who doesn’t at least have Excel?!  Become a little more obsessed with your customers.