We often think that customers don’t know what they want or that what we put in front of them is so compelling that getting their vote through the wallets is inevitable. Well in these challenging economic times – getting client to love your business and brand is something that requires constant work. It doesn’t matter what your business sells, it could be that you sell entertainment or a restaurant or clothing or you are an accountant..clients demand that we constant evaluate and check that we are earning their love and money.
The arrogance and complacency that some entrepreneurs display is worrying because the narrative that often drives this attitude is that the business is larger than the customer. Please know that this is a futile error. I am sure many of us know of brands and business that collapsed after a long “successful” existence. One of the reasons that result in their “death” is the failure to honor customers and to care about providing that truly matters to them.
The customers are the reason for any business to exist and they ought to remain front and center of the business agenda. The day you and your team decide to show up to work with the belief that customers don’t matter…would be the day you should start preparing for the “death” of that business. Customers keep the lights on and give you the reward you are after (money in the bank account).
Here are a few thoughts to keep top of mind:-
1- Customers vote with their wallet – in this day of a tough economic climate, every rand spent is considered carefully. Your product or services must be worth it. When clients are not convinced – they will walk away with their wallets, believe me even the biggest brands have felt this pain.
2- Feedback is a gift and oxygen – please don’t wait for a crisis to seek feedback. I have seen business owners ask clients how they are enjoying the service or product. It’s the best thing because you keep your doors open to hear what’s working and what is needing improvement.
3- Even your best client has elsewhere to go. Please don’t ever take anyone for granted. The competitive environment for most business is tough and the difference between you and your competitor may not be that major.
Regular clients want to be valued every time and newer clients need love too. I’ve been to businesses where regular clients get more attention and better service and I being new feel like I do not matter. This does not make me want to return and often leaves me wondering how this business is looking to grow the client base.
4- Think about how you keep things fresh or the signature ways consistent. The days of surprises when it comes to how clients are treated are gone. I think clients need to know what your business is about and should get a sense of “freshness” on a foundation that is stable and known for consistently getting things right.
There are many other considerations over and above the ones I have noted. Customers want to be loved and the love doesn’t just happen without strategy and conscious planning.
ABOUT NONTOKOZO MADONSELA
Nontokozo is the founder of SPA88, a high-end boutique spa based in Parkhurst Johannesburg. Nontokozo is an accomplished marketer with a BCom in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She has worked in various marketing incarnations at four of the largest South African multi-nationals Standard Bank, BAT, Coca-Cola, South African Breweries and now Hollard Insurance.