Every day you move heaven and earth to be there for your customers, to understand their needs and to satisfy them. Your IT and marketing teams make mighty efforts to crack the secrets of your customers’ needs, wants and hidden desires.
Unfortunately, you may be wasting your time and money trying to do things that simply you should not be doing. That’s because there are at least five things that your customers can do better than you:
- Network with other consumers. Whatever you’re selling, the likelihood is high that your competitors are offering similar products and are working hard to get consumers to walk through their own virtual doors rather than yours. While the tech savviness and artistry of your website, your SEO and your social media efforts may be effective in displaying your products’ bells and whistles, your consumers’ interactions with each other will spread the word about what is truly unique to your business alone whether it’s your customer service, your core values and corporate culture. Your podcasts, tweets and email campaigns may have to fight to be heard through the digital noise, but your commitment to the customer will come through loud and clear when your customers start to let each other know that your firm is the place to go when they need someone who can actually walk the walk.
- Add credibility to your service or product. Word travels fast. Customers trust each other’s judgments more than they do the claims of the businesses they patronize. Who knows how much of your beautiful website is actually genuine and how much is tainted by more than a touch of hyperbole? Your repeat customers know! B2B can be a big game of who do you trust? Your customers will always trust each other’s judgments far more than they will ever trust your marketing efforts.
- Identify and illuminate the true needs and wants of buyers. Your goal is to provide customers with what they want, but do you really know what that is? Concerted efforts through customer engagement, such as blogs, text messages and mobile apps outreach are certainly helpful, but they require spending a great deal of time and money to figure out what your customers already know. Develop a relationship with your customers built on trust, and they will tell you their secrets for free in hope that you will fulfill their deepest needs.
- Innovate. It is certainly true that necessity is the mother of invention. The best ideas for new products and services originate with customers, not with your R&D department. No matter how much your customers appreciate your products, you can be certain that they are tweaking them to fit their precise needs. Your customers are the boots on the ground. They are the ones who have to figure things out day after day, and the ones who have a secret wish list. Sooner or later, they will figure alternatives to make your products work in different ways— ways even your most talented marketing staff could never imagine.
- Provide you with free advertising. Using your products on a regular basis provides exposure that can send your brand on its way to becoming the gold standard in your industry. Your customers and their competitors check each other out on a regular basis. A winning formula tends not to stay a secret for long. If you provide top-notch service that amazes your customers, you can be sure that they will reward you by telling everyone they know that you are, quite simply, the best. And it won’t cost you a penny out of your advertising budget.