Think you know your customers? Think again!
By Ron Kaufman
Many people say they know who their customers are. But an alarming number, especially in the B2B world, have only a shallow clue.
Ask yourself these questions, and then think again:
Do you understand your customers’…
- Business: the dynamics of what they do, how they work, how they measure their success?
- Industry: the history, current changes and major issues of the day.
- Trends: what’s rising, fading and lurking over their horizon?
- Customers: who are they? where are they? how many customers do they have? how is their customer base changing? does your customer’s customer have rising expectations?
- Allies: who are they collaborating with, and for what purpose? what’s been working? what’s not, and for how long?
- History: their past glories, trials and tribulations, heroes, milestones and achievements.
- Future: what plans, directions and investments?
- Technology: what is installed and foundational? what is current, changing? what possibilities are they considering now?
- Competition: who are they? how many are out there? who has market share? in what directions are they growing?
- Internal politics: who are their people? what are their preferences? who holds the positions of power?
- Procedures: when and how do they get things done? do they set goals, budgets and specific targets?
- Hopes and aspirations: what are they seeking? what do they want? what are their cherished dreams?
- Concerns and fears: what are they afraid of? what are the uncertainties, the downside risks, the dangers?
- Opinion of you: what do your customers think about you, your people and your organization? do they see you as a valued ally or a necessary evil? are they interested in working with you more closely or finding a replacement?
Do you really know your customers well enough to stand apart from your competition? Do you want to?
Then take new action now, before your competition beats you to it. Build an uplifting service culture for sustainable competitive advantage.
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