Talking to your customers is non-negotiable for new entrepreneurs
Sustainable growth is one of the biggest challenges that every organization face. Creating sustainable and scalable improvements to a company’s business structure is the key factor that every company looks up to which involves three key actions: i) choosing or clearly defining the right business model, ii) determining how decisions will be made, and iii) mobilizing resources to put decisions into action.
All these areas can be jointly addressed when entrepreneurs focus on the most important stakeholder in their ecosystem – their customer. For a business to run successfully, it is important that entrepreneurs are able to meet the needs and requirements of their customers. Without customer validation, companies may cease to exist.
While customers are vital, what is equally important is the customer experience. If an entrepreneur is able to make the customer experience smooth and seamless, the business can definitely witness growth and development. Ensuring that customer needs and requirements are met, the interaction with customers is helpful and the customers are engaged at all times is not an easy feat. So how can companies focus on enriching the customer experience?
- Different Mindset: One needs to understand that men and women have different needs and different mindsets. Something that may serve one demographic may not serve another demographic. The key thing in a business is you need to come up with a product or service that the customer wants and understand the needs of the customers and also make sure you provide a good product or service that you want them to pay you for.
- Business Model: The key thing is once you come up with your business model, you actually need to go to the customer and ask them whether this works for them or not. Business model helps in validating the model. The idea is once you have received enough feedback from the customer, entrepreneurs should then work on developing their products & services instead of first developing a product or service and then hoping that the customers would buy it.
- Revaluate your business model/change it: Not every customer wants a high-value product so you need to understand who your key customer is and what would be the best service for that person. Entrepreneur’s needn’t keep changing their business model every time just understand the demographics and understand what their key needs are and how you can serve them better.
- Develop a customer strategic business model: One should keep interacting with the customers. No entrepreneur should aim to develop another sort of model. Also, customer sensitivity has to be a culture that is right from top to bottom if not ideation from the top, one has to make the frontline that people can understand.
- Customer engagement strategies: The classic would be the concept called “Co-creation”. Co-creation means where you engage with customers in getting involved in creating the product. The focus here should be that the customer engagement should go much beyond just the “buy and sell relationship”. If an entrepreneur is thinking of their customers as a partner and help them get their work done better, that is moving beyond the “buy and sell” relationship. One should be able to have a conversation with the customer and for this, the best strategy would have the customer be a co-creator of the products/services.
- Role of Big Data: The issue with Big Data is to understand the purpose of Big Data. Big data can help entrepreneurs make better decisions, better strategies based on insights. One problem could be that the entrepreneur could focus too much on collecting more and more data which could eventually get them confused after spending much time and money. It could also happen with so much of data, entrepreneurs could discover that the decision they make, is actually the same decision that they would make before using Big Data. A lot of entrepreneurs tend to work on gut instinct because sometimes there may be a lot of perception that cannot be translated into a hardcore number.
- Customer Satisfaction: One of the best ways to gauge different ways of customer satisfaction is through peer-to-peer networks. For example, at the ASCENT Foundation entrepreneurs are able to share what they have actually come up with the product and service for the customer.
Customer satisfaction is addressed as a strategic business development tool. It certainly does have a positive effect on an organization’s profitability as satisfied customers form the foundation of any successful business. Customer satisfaction leads to repeat purchase, brand loyalty, and positive word of mouth. Satisfied customers are most likely to share their experiences with other people to the order of perhaps five or six people. Equally well, dissatisfied customers are more likely to tell another ten people of their unfortunate experience. Research has demonstrated that even a difference between a totally satisfied customer and a somewhat satisfied customer could lead to an increased revenue contribution of a factor