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What are the most efficient ways to better understand customers, to gain detailed facts about their preferences?  The methods chosen to garner this information may vary from business to business, but communication and data analysis, in one form or another, are the tools that build sound insight.

From old school personal contact with customers to sophisticated data management systems, the importance of understanding what customers want and the channels through with they wish to receive them is imperative for every business. 

Seeing Through the Customer’s Eyes

First, take a look at your business from an objective viewpoint. We’ve all heard the adage about walking a mile in the shoes of others before offering judgment. That concept applies when it comes to evaluating a business from the standpoint of the customers.

Often, we become too focused upon our own perspective. Try entering your place of business pretending you are a first time customer. Browse around the waiting or sales area. Are the surroundings attractive? If it’s a retail business, are items displayed in an organized manner with ease of selection in mind? Are the items of sufficient quality to be worth the price?

View your website in similar manner. Is the design simple, yet unique and attractive? Does it hold your attention? Is it easy to navigate?

Honestly asking yourself what you would expect from your business, if you were a customer can be very revealing experience. 

Converse With Customers

Engagement is a valuable concept which encourages customer loyalty to a brand or a business. In these days dominated by social media, in person conversations with customers have become a rare occurrence for many business owners. But one on one communication can be one of the best actions to help a business owner truly understand customers.

Don’t be afraid to mingle. Customers will appreciate the opportunity to express opinions and tell their friends about your caring attitude toward your customers.

Ask Specific Questions and Compile  Answers

When speaking with customers allow them to freely express themselves, but remember to ask for opinions regarding plans you are thinking of implementing.

Inquire about the customer’s favorite and least favorite aspects of the business. Be specific, whether you are conversing in person, putting together a questionnaire, or online survey site.

Hard Copy Questionnaires

A printed list of questions can be sent home with each customer, if a business offers in person services.

Online Surveys

Putting a link on your website or Facebook page is a great way to get information. Or, mass e-mailings can be sent requesting responses to a survey. Specialized services are available to assist with these options if your business doesn’t have an employee with the time and expertise to set up online programs.

Watch for Trends in Your Customer Management System

CRM, “customer relationship management systems” are an invaluable way to collect and process information. This type of technology allows owners and managers to record, store, analyze data regarding every person who touches their business.

A CRM tool stores customer and prospect contact information, reveals customer buying trends, identifies sales opportunities and manages marketing plans, all in one central location. Information about any customer interaction becomes easily accessible by anyone in the company.

Various types of data from different aspects of the company can be analyzed simultaneously to produce data useful in making wise, informed, business decisions for the future. CRM technology is becoming increasingly important as business climates become more complex and competitive.

Trends regarding customer preferences and behavior stand out with this kind of comprehensive analysis.

Any techniques implemented to assist in gaining a better understanding of customers will serve as an investment in the future of a business. 

Located in New Jersey, works with a wide variety of businesses, but specializes in single person Llcs and tech companies. Need help with data analysis in order to gain a greater understanding of your customer base? Contact us. We can help you grow your business.