Anyone running a business knows it is a lot of hard work. The dream we all had about being our own boss and having more free time, well, it was a nice dream. Having a business means you also have customers and customers can be a challenge.
Just Plain Finicky
Many customers are finicky. Demanding. Hard to please. Now, more than any other time in history, they are better informed and less inclined to be loyal. Back in the day, before Amazon, if you were a local store, you could stock your shelves and all the local folks would buy. People did not go online looking for reviews or better prices. What’s up with that?
Well, it’s a brand new media-driven world. Sigh. At the end of 2014, 1.6 billion people worldwide owned smart phones. By the end of 2015, that number would be over 2 billion. In the United States, 77% of the population owned a smartphone by 2016.
In this very connected world, customers are in their cars, at the cafe, standing in line to buy groceries and they are going on the internet with their phones to check out products. I do it myself. Standing in a hardware store, looking at the latest sprinkler with its plastic-non-metal frame, I go online, type in the model number and the word ‘reviews’ and there it is–everything the buyers said about it. Good or bad, it is all there for me to see and decide if that lifetime warranty means anything or not.
I don’t see myself as finicky, just a smart shopper. Like, is it too much to ask that a sprinkler work for more than one season? My dad has sprinklers from when I was a kid that still work. Me, I have a box of watering devices that sort-of sprinkle. So from my perspective, the first business that sells me an honest-to-goodness, bullet-proof, ‘yard irrigation solution’ will have my business. Now really, does that make me a demanding customer? Maybe.
But now that you see one of the real-life challenges of an ordinary customer, you understand how your products provide solutions to your customers’ needs. This includes everything from a gift item for an eccentric aunt, a baby toy that does NOT make noise for an already stressed mom to an auto service package for the business person who has no time to figure out which auto repair shop is the best.
Bring on the Solutions
All customers are just out looking for a solution to their problem. That’s what your customers are thinking about. The first business that we trust and that fits into budget may find themselves the winner of our wallet. So the goal for those of us in business is to be that go-to solution.
You should also know that when people head to a store they expect to spend money. They are willing to pay for a solution right then. Most of us don’t really want to shop online we want to buy it today. So I leave you to think about how you can find out what problems your customers are having when they come into your business. When you understand your customers’ needs, you can be their immediate solution and you will make more sales. Exciting, right?
Check out our Resources to find more help on running your business.