Tuesday, 13 April 2010

What do your customers need & want?

Knowing your customers’ needs, wants and preferences is vitally important in today’s world. Of course, it has always been important, it’s just that software now enables us to do so much more. Which of course means that if we don’t understand our customers’ needs and wants, someone else will make the effort to understand them.

Which kinda puts the pressure on to start figuring it out.

We all like to think we know our customers well. But the truth is there are some things about them we know very well, and other things we are blissfully unaware of. Yet most customers are more than happy to provide all the clues you need to understand them. After all – they buy from you – that’s a pretty strong clue as to what they need and want.

When you start to have a look at the data you have about your customers there is a surprising amount of it:
  • Who they are and where they are located
  • Which promotion they responded to when they initially bought from you
  • Who in the company made the purchasing decision
  • Who influenced the purchasing decision
  • Who in your company dealt with the customer initially
  • Who in your company deals with the customer day by day
  • Who you normally deal with, day by day
  • Products or services they have bought from you
  • Time taken to make the purchasing decision
  • The cost of producing the products or services they buy
  • How long they take to pay
  • Goods or services they have returned or complained about
  • What they buy from others
  • What promotions they have responded to by buying or enquiring
  • What promotions they have not responded to
Of course every company is different, and that list will be much longer when you start thinking about the various systems you store customer information in.

So the key is to bring all this information together, so you can analyse it and start to better understand your customers’ needs and wants. Business intelligence software, such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services enables you to do just that. What once could only be looked at in its own separate system can now be brought together with data from other systems.

It’s powerful and enlightening - and you get increased loyalty from your customers because you can provide a better product or service. It's an exciting time to be in business!

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