If you have ever found yourself being caught up in the web of building a business, then you will know by now that starting a business is a lot of work. However, once you are able to successfully launch the business, the next phase of challenge is to win customers over. Without a shadow of doubt, advertising your goods and services in a business community where there is serious competition can be truly difficult.

It is for this reason that a good business person does all it takes to keep their loyal customers. If you have been active in the business circle or in the corporate world, you must have heard the cliché over and over again that ‘Customers are Always Right’. But, did you know that technically, this might not be true?

However, for the sake of not losing your customers, you should always see things from your clients’ point of view. This is irrespective of whether they are wrong or not; because wisdom requires that you don’t throw the mistakes of your customers in their faces.

If you are a business person – especially one of those that interface with clients; then you are required to apply tact and diplomacy when dealing with your clients. This is especially unreasonable clients. Knowing your customers and what they actually want from your business – in terms of your goods and services is all you need to leverage on in order to become a successful entrepreneur. There are several approaches that you can adopt if you want to know your customers and their needs.

Here are 7 surefire tips that will help you know your customers and their needs;

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Know Your Customers and Their Needs

1. Create a Database for Your Customers (Sign – up to Customers Relationship Management (CRM) Software)

The first rule of thumb that you are supposed to put in place is to set up structures in your business. In setting up structures, it is very important to sign up to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software. A good CRM Software will help you effectively manage you customers and you will be able to know them and their needs as well. You can visit an online software store to source for a CRM software that suits your business needs. You can as well review the Zoho®, Insightly® and Agile® software.

2. When You Have the Opportunity to Interface with Your Clients, Deliberately Engage Them in Order To Create Relationship

There are opportunities that present itself every day that you can leverage on to get to know your customers a lot better. Much more than discussing business with your clients, when you interface with them, create a room to pose questions at them that will help you to know them better. Please note that some customers mightn’t like it when you ask them questions beyond what they came for. This is why you must apply tact when dealing with your customers.

3. Create an Enabling Business Environment Where Your Customers Can Be Free To Express Themselves (Effective Feedback System)

One of the best approaches that you can employ, if you want to know your customers and also to know their needs, is to endeavor to create an enabling business environment where your customers can be free to express themselves. Businesses that are successful and have loads of loyal customers are businesses that don’t toy with feedbacks. Dissatisfied customers can walk out on your business without notice once they realize that you don’t have an effective feedback mechanism in place.

4. Create Promos and Programs That Will Help You Celebrate Your Customers

Another approach you can adopt if you want to know your customers and their needs well is to create promos and programs that will help you celebrate them. When designing any promo or program for your customers, ensure that you put things in place that help you with discovering who they are and their expectations of your business.

For example; you can be direct by asking your customers to write about themselves and their expectations from your products. If the prizes are very attractive, then you can be sure to have loads of entries.

5. Go Out of Your Way to Attend Your Customers Special Family Functions

When any of your customers invite you for a special family function, if you are chanced, ensure that you go out of your way to honor such an invitation. This could be a wedding ceremony, a funeral, a convocation   ceremony or it could also be christening ceremony, and what have you. Indeed, when you attend any of these type of functions, you can be sure to be held in high esteem.

As a matter of fact, this is a way of building relationship with your customers. When you are in a good relationship with your customers, it makes it much easier to get to know them and also to know their needs and how you can improve on your brand.

6. Get Your Customers Involved When Making Plans to Develop New Products or Improve on Existing Products

What most successful business brands do when making plans to develop new products or improve on their existing products is by directly or indirectly engage their customers in the process. That is perhaps one direct way of knowing your customer’s needs.

So, if you want to know your customers and what they need, then you should get them involved whenever you want to develop new products or improve on your existing products. Getting them involved in the process doesn’t necessarily mean that you should invite them to attend strategic meetings et al. It only means that you can get your customers involved via surveys, administering questionnaires and engaging them directly (phone calls et al).

7. Invite Some of Your Customers to Attend Your Special Family Functions

Most people will feel greatly honored when they are invited by the MD or CEO of a company to attend a special family event. This is one approach that will enable you strengthen the relationship you have with your customers.

In the business terrain, relationship is everything- that is why most business people do all that is within their powers to win relationships and also to service relationships. Of course, you are not expected to invite the whole of your customers to attend your special family functions, but you can identify a few of them that you know who are influential and then get them invited.

Finally, do have at the back of your mind that if you can abide by the tips discussed above, then you will get to know your customers and their needs. And one of the best ways to know what brand serves for who in the society is by being close to the needs of your customers.

Ajaero Tony Martins