The success of any business, from a small micro business of just one or two people, right up to a large international conglomerate, always includes two key factors – innovation and financial management. One main reason why businesses may fall behind the innovation train and fail to optimise their budget is due to the lack of keeping up with industry and consumer trends. By spotting upcoming trends, businesses can discover ways to stay ahead of their competition with unique products while simultaneously cutting costs for practices that may not be rendering desired results or have become outdated.
Having the pulse on the hottest trends, however, is no easy feat. When it comes down to it, the most important source of information you have about the trends your customers care about is, you guessed it, your customers!
Reaching out to your customers
While customers may engage with your organisation and volunteer information from time to time, the onus is really on your business to reach out to them. After all, it is up to your business to keep up with its customers frequently enough to stay ahead of the curve, so what better way to do so than reaching out to them directly and getting their thoughts? Knowing you need to reach out, however, is entirely different than knowing how.
In today’s mobile generation, one of the best ways to reach your customers is via mobile device. With more than two-thirds of consumers in both the UK and US owning a smartphone today, mobile technology has opened the door for businesses to capture and engage with their customers wherever they may be. While capturing is the first step, the real challenge becomes engagement.
Getting them to engage with your business
Consumers are frequently too impatient, preoccupied or busy to engage with your company, especially when efforts are not convenient for them. If they are not engaged or motivated within the first few moments they are captured, the opportunity is readily passed.
In overcoming their reticence, incentivizing has proven great success in engagement. Whether providing an incentive to return to your place of business or gather customer information, a small gesture really can make a difference. Offering something as simple as a small gift or coupon shows customers that you honor their loyalty and value their opinion.
Acting on information, not assumptions
Customers love to know that their opinions matter and that your organization will be shaping its strategy in response to their needs. Therefore, it just as crucial for your business to keep up with the trends as it is to adjust to them.
Luckily, the mobile technology that allows business today to capture their customers also works to better gauge the results faster. From redemption rates, to time of redemption and items requested, businesses can better track such trends and act on the data collected from their customers instead of assuming certain strategies and products are driving sales.
Tips to keep in mind
While customers can be hard to reach and, most especially, engage, it is important to know your business’s purpose for engagement, as well as the results you are looking to receive. That means keeping the engagement short, sweet and always to the point. This way, you are showing appreciation for their time and saving some of your own.
Additionally, be upfront about the incentives you’re offering them to show your appreciation. Encourage your customers to be candid and honest in their feedback to get the most value out of your engagements.
Finally, act on what your customers tell you! Few things are more satisfying to consumers than when an organisation actually takes their opinions into consideration.
About Nicola Evans
Nicola manages SurveyMe’s PR, marketing, social media and is also the COO. Her hard work has led to a great public perception of SurveyMe boasting a NPS score consistently more than 80 percent with consumers for over 12 months. Since the inception of SurveyMe, Nicola has utilized her extensive experience to create the brand, which is now synonymous with listening, engaging and rewarding people for their opinions. Together with her husband Lee, Nicola has developed SurveyMe into an internationally known leader in customer feedback and rewards solutions. SurveyMe is used by businesses in more than 140 countries.
Before SurveyMe, Nicola has worked for some of the biggest brands included Coca-Cola in UK, Australia and Ireland, accountancy firm Grant Thornton and luxury hotel chain Rocco Forte Hotels. Nicola has also worked for brands like BMW, Mini, Land Rover, Holiday Inn and Kitchencraft, building her background in brand management and cultivating each brand’s voice.