January the 18th was ‘Get To Know Your Customers Day’ – although we’re not one for jumping on the bandwagon of each and every suspiciously sales-motivated national day created, we couldn’t help but reflect on the benefits that lie in a day which actively promotes the value of truly understanding one’s customer base.
The advantages of taking the time to get to know your customers that little bit better should never be undervalued. One cannot truly deliver the personalised service which all business owners and managers should strive for if customers are merely numbers on a sheet: learning more about customer and clients’ businesses themselves will ensure that you are always the go-to-expert for specialised services.
Getting to know your customers better means that both parties benefit – when you know what your customers expect, it makes the delivery of strategy so much easier. This leads to greater productivity in the workplace, meaning your business benefits and employee morale is raised as projects are completed efficiently.
On the subject of workforces, encouraging the development of professional relationships between employees and customers may lead to organic improvement of performance. If employees really know their customers and share a friendly, respectful relationship with customers who they view as more than just email addresses or anonymous voices at the end of the phone, they are far more likely to go that extra mile and go above and beyond for them, which can only serve to improve business activity in the future.
But how can we reach out and get to know our customers better, whilst maintaining the utmost professionalism? If, like us here at Barnes, you work in the logistics industry, it’s not as simple as asking a customer about their day at the checkout or a chat over a coffee. For the majority in our profession, many of our clients are based across the country and the world.
If you already have strong relationships with your customers and want to build on them even further, consider inviting them to any in-house celebrations you may have planned. This could be a yearly motivational party to thank the hard work of your team, a re-brand event, or a special anniversary celebration for your company – any events which encourage professional relationships to flourish provide the ideal environment for customers to get to know you, your business and your employees better in a relaxed environment.
No events planned? No problem – there are plenty of other ways to get to know your customers better. Try to set up at least one meeting a year with your top customers, just to talk through the account and what’s on the cards for the upcoming months. It may seem a pain to take what could be a day to travel and meet your clients, the value of sitting down face to face not only helps to strengthen the relationship, but also helps you, as a business manager, to clarify upcoming plans. If this can’t be done face to face due to time constraints or distance, why not try setting up a video conference?
Finally, we understand that with all the best intentions of getting to know your customers, some clients may not have the time even for a video call! In which case, we would wholeheartedly recommend utilising the power of online surveys. Send a quick email in advance to let your customers know to expect a survey from you and how little of their time you’ll need, and you can create as simple or complex a survey as you need, and email it out to your clients (Survey Monkey are highly recommended). You can find out, anonymously or otherwise, how your customers feel about service, quality, prices, where you can improve and what you excel at.
We’ll be reflecting on the messages and benefits of ‘Get To Know Your Customers Day’ for far longer than a simple 24 hours, and we hope you’ll join us in extending their value throughout 2018.