“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Depending on what sort of business you have you may know a lot about your customers or you may not. A high street shop will likely have a large number of customers but not much information about them while a professional services firm (for example) might have a smaller customer list and a lot more information about them. But whoever your customers are they are crucial to the success and profitable growth of your business.
You probably wouldn’t think that an accountant would worry too much about what customers want – on the surface at least it’s usually accounting advice of one form or another.
I’m interested in customers because there is useful business information to be got at.
Most businesses have a list of who their customers are and usually basic details about addresses and contact details. But what did these customers buy most recently? What does recent actually mean?
Are these customers good for your business? Do they pay promptly, are they profitable? Does serving them take more time and attention than other customers? Can you divide your customers into groups? Do they value different things about your product?
I don’t have any advice to share here; because every business is different every business’ customer group will be different, but it’s vital that you build a picture of who your customers are. And it’s vital that that picture is based on information, not your own opinions or guesswork.
If you don’t know who your customers are you won’t know which customers you want more of. And maybe also which customers you don’t want any more of! Then instead of acting on intuition and “the next bright idea” you can develop a structured plan to grow the sales you want.
When you know what’s important to your customers and what’s valuable about them you can set some Key Performance Indicators to track how well you are doing in attracting and retaining the customers that you want – what get’s measured get’s done.
This will focus your efforts around your customers and make sure you’re keeping the boss happy.