Over the last 3 weeks, I went over the 4th, 5th and 6th most common reasons why companies are not successful, according to the Small Business Administration of the United States. You will see that there are some common elements to each of the 6. Feel free to look at the original article here.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Without any customers, it is hard to have a sustainable business. The needs of your customers are constantly changing and evolving. At any time, your product or service may fall out of favour with your target market. A competitor may have developed a product which is a replacement to yours. Maybe a product developed by an indirect competitor was able to mitigate or completely solve the problem that your product was servicing. Being out of touch with what your target market is thinking can be a painful experience.
A company that was not in touch with its customers was Blockbuster. As Netflix was becoming more popular and well known, Blockbuster was getting less foot traffic into their stores to rent movies. According to Blockbuster, people enjoyed the experience of going to a retail space, searching for a movie to watch, and putting the disc into the machine to watch. Blockbuster did not stay in touch with their service consumer and moved their services into an online basis.
Staying in touch with your consumer does not have to be something overly complicated.
Competition: Watch closely what your competition is doing. Have they unveiled a new product with certain features? Are they growing at a faster rate than the industry or your company?
Feedback: Add the ability for your consumer to give you feedback on their experience with your company. You can ask for feedback at reception while a second appointment is being booked or send out a very quick survey (4 questions as a maximum) on how your company performed.
Social Media: Keep in touch and read what consumers are saying about your company and its services. Monitor feedback sites like Yelp. Search social media sites like Twitter and Snapchat to learn what your target market is saying. If you are connected with the correct people, you can get insight on how your product or service is being used which will give added ideas on improving your offering.
There are still different ways on getting feedback from consumers like a focus group or a phone survey. Use the method you think you will get the most truthful answer from and within your own budget.
Most importantly, the feedback that you do receive, make sure you take it with a grain of salt and use what you can to improve your company.
Do you get feedback from your consumer? How do you get it? How did you use that information in the end?
Have an awesome week.
Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.
Kevin is hosting three social media workshops at 14920 Stony Plain Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 3X8 (Pura Vida Mind Body Soul). The March 29, 2016 workshop will be about Facebook, April 26, 2016 will be about Twitter, while the May 24, 2016 workshop will be covering LinkedIn. All session run from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. Food and refreshments will be available. You can register here.
For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867.