Understanding Your Customer Preferences

Understanding customer preferences is very important whether you are selling a product or offering a service. This is because customers are the determiners of how successful a company becomes. After all where will profits come from if not your customers? Customer care is all about sticking to the promises you make to customers. However you can only satisfy your customer’s needs if you get to understand them to an extent that you can anticipate their needs and deliver beyond their expectations.

How to Understand You Customer Preferences

Identify Who Your Customers Are

In order to know whom you are trying to meet their needs you must get to know them. This does not necessarily mean knowing them personally. Instead it involves customer segmentation.

Depending on the service or product you are offering, identify the group of people that require them. This group should form your current and potential clients. For example if you are involved in the sale of baby clothing and maternity outfit, then your target should be expectant mothers and parents with small kids.

Basically knowing whom you are targeting based on their gender, occupation, age and disposable income will help you serve them better.

Find out their shopping methods 

This is where most organizations fail. Let’s say you have a store in the middle of town and most of your clients travel from far off areas to come and get your product or service. Based on the ever increasing technological advancements, it would only be logical if you embrace technology to serve your customers better. For clients who come from far operating an online store and arranging for door to door deliveries would be a good way of making them happy.

Also get to know what mode of shopping they actually prefer. Do they like making orders over the phone, visiting your online website or physical store? If for instance your customers like making phone calls prior to visiting your store, then you should have excellent call center service. Calls that go unanswered only end up disappointing clients, especially prospective ones.

Listen to your customer’s complaints

There is no better way of understanding customer preferences than listening to and addressing their complaints. Most organizations tend to side with their employees and not customers. It is true that employees are a valuable asset to your company but customers are too. Carefully analyze a situation before you dismiss a client’s complaints.

Invest in customer research

Market research is as valuable as the customers themselves. Every organization should have a customer relationship management system. This database contains important statistics and data that you can use to understand your customer’s preferences. If the data is not enough then use of both qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques can help. Note that market research should not be a once in a life time thing. Instead it should be made an ongoing activity. This is because the market keeps on changing with the influx of new competitors every now and then.

Conduct a customer satisfaction survey

This is the best way to know whether your customers are at ease with what you offer them. It is as easy as just formulating a simple questionnaire that you issue your clients. Ask them whether they feel special and really do enjoy doing business with you. Also get to know the types of brands they prefer and that they would be delighted to find in your stores. Most importantly talk to them about your staff, do the staff behave well towards them? If so then what are some of the negative experiences they have undergone?

Develop a good customer contact strategy

It is very important that you stay in touch with your customers. Set up a database that contains their email addresses, and phone numbers. If possible try to engage your customers even on social media. You can send messages about special offers directly to them.

The importance of understanding customer preferences

Assist in developing relevant marketing strategies

There is no way your marketing strategies can be successful if you do not know whom you are marketing to. As such understanding customer preferences gives your marketing campaigns a better chance of yielding results. Armed with the knowledge of who your customers are, and their points of contact you can effectively select a suitable media. The choice of media in marketing matters a lot because it determines whether your customers get the message or not.

Helps in successful brand development

Your brand is what your clients resonate with. In order to develop or improve the quality of a brand you must consider the needs of your clients. If from your market research you discovered that your clients prefer a specific kind of brand, then ensure that is exactly what you give them. If they have been forced to abandon your brand for another, you can as well consider rebranding. Use their suggestions to know how to package and even present your brand. You can therefore effectively redesign or change the look of your brand to meet the ever evolving tastes and preferences of your customer.

Promotes customer loyalty

Most companies make the mistake of valuing new customers rather than retaining the existing ones. No one should out the importance of new clients but old ones matter too. Customer loyalty results into numerous repeat sales which is very beneficial to any business. Customers can only remain loyal to you if you understand what they want and exceed their expectations.

Conclusion

Paying attention to customers is key to understanding their likes and dislikes. It may seem an uphill task to engage in all the above mentioned activities just to understand clients. However the rewards are great. Firstly you will greatly improve the image of your organization. Secondly, you get numerous repeat sales and even referrals. Note that the opinion of customers matter a lot. This is because most people will rely on their friends, relatives and colleagues to tell them the best products and service providers. Therefore the negative experience of a single client can send away tons of potential clients. It is therefore important that an organization invests as much as possible in understanding customer preferences.

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Amy Clark is the Lead Author & Editor of IWantItNow Blog. Amy established the Customer Engagement blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to customer service, support and engagement.
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