When you’re running a business, sometimes it’s helpful to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How are they thinking and what drives them to buy a product or service? What is their perception of my company? What gives them a negative view of my business, and what keeps bringing them back? You have to learn how to think like a customer if you want be able to see the business from the customer’s view.
Think about times you were a customer and think about companies that did something that impressed you. Remember what made you want to return to using their services. Also, think about companies that did something that irritated you and made you look elsewhere for future services. Here are some basics on thinking like a customer so that you can better serve your customer base and improve the likelihood of securing lifelong, loyal business.
Customers Think They are the Only Customer
The first thing you should understand is that customers think they are your only customer. They are only concerned with getting their needs met regardless of how you are helping other customers. They want to be asked what they want, what they like and what they think about your services.
Be careful not to treat individual customers like they are just a small part of a large group. Never discuss customer service policies, because they will feel like a policy is more important than their needs. Make sure to treat each customer’s needs as individual needs to be met that aren’t necessarily the same as the rest of your customer base.
Prioritize and Ask Questions
Make sure each customer feels like they are important and that their voice matters. If you’re running a restaurant, don’t believe that your customers are there because they can’t get this type of meal elsewhere. They can easily make a meal like this at home or find a similar restaurant, but they are at your restaurant in order to be treated like royalty.
They don’t care about the tables nearby either; they want the VIP treatment. While customers may be unreasonable some of the time, they will push the limits to see what you’re willing to do for them. Treating a customer like they are important is all it takes to make them want to come back time and time again.
If you can’t figure out what would make your customer happy, start asking questions. Ask them what would make them happy and what type of resolution they are looking for so that you can succeed in solving their problem. Respect their wants and explore options as to how to make them happy so that they will return to your business again.
Anticipate Customer’s Needs
Serve customers before they even know they need your help. Answer a question they have or a question they should have when they’re buying. CEO Steven Sheinkopf of Yale Appliance and Lighting has learned the trick to this. He’s posted blogs like “Quietest Dishwasher by Decibel Rating.” This type of blog makes customers think that their current dishwasher is too loud and it’s time to get a quieter one in their home.
Make sure you are considering who your ideal customer is, what social networks they use, what publications they read and where they go for their information. Asking these types of questions is the first step to understanding the people you are serving. Do whatever it takes to make them happy, whether it’s taking surveys with current customers, taking them out for a meal or starting an email list to get into their head and learn from them.