January 16 is Get to Know Your Customers Day. Even if you don’t own your own business, it’s important that you know your customers!
Who is your customer?
When we started our business, we were the customers! Our catering business meant we bent over folding tables while we worked, and our backs hurt. Yes, that’s how the whole campaign to Save Your Back started. With our own backs.
When you’re standing, it’s best for your back if you stand straight up just like Mom said. Bad for your comfort, and also bad for your body. Want your back to still be there for you in your old age? Include back safety into your plans.
We tried. We looked and looked, and we could not find what we needed. A way to raise those folding tables up to a height where we could stand straight up as we worked. So we came up with our Lift Your TableTM folding table risers.
There are many industries and fields where people need to raise the height of their folding tables. EHS managers, DJs, event planners, crafters, trade show exhibitors, groomers… our list of customers is long and varied!
What does your client list look like?
Your customer might be pretty clear: the audience at the trade show, the people who hire you to DJ their wedding, dog owners.
But what if you’re working for a company? Many of our safety managers operate in warehouses, whether retail or otherwise. Maybe your client isn’t external, the way it is for business owners. Instead, it’s internal: management, or the board of directors, or some other group inside your firm.
Whether your clients are internal or external, they still have problems and issues that you can solve.
What do your customers want?
For us it was pretty easy to find out what the customer wanted! We needed a solution that eliminated back strain from bending over a folding table. One that was portable, so we could bring it with us to the different events we catered. Something that was easy to use, so we didn’t have to spend too much time setting up.
That was the problem we solved. All different kinds of people, not just caterers as it turned out, had this issue. That’s how we built our business.
What about your customers? Almost every client in existence, for any business, wants value for their money. If they can’t save money, which would be most awesome, then they want to know that at least they didn’t overpay. Most people want to be productive, to save time so they can be with family and friends.
If you’re in the events planning business in any capacity – DJ, wedding planner, trade show professional, etc. – chances are your clients don’t want to be fussed about the details. They want a well-planned and impressive event that goes off beautifully. They don’t have to be too involved in it on the day of the event.
They want to spend the day of the event connecting with family, or friends, or potential business connections, or all of the above.
That’s an opportunity for you, if you’re good at what you do. Deliver a high-quality experience that allows them to hand the reins over to you so they can have a good and/or productive time.
If you’re a safety manager, your company likely wants a safe workplace without having to spend too much money on retrofitting. They don’t want too many OSHA recordables or worker’s comp claims.
That’s your opportunity, when you’re good at managing EHS risks. It might take a little creativity in finding solutions, in addition to your lockout/tagout system, incident investigation team, and/or other safety procedures.
Your (internal) clients will notice when you show them the annual reports with your industry’s average number and payout for worker’s comp claims… and yours is much lower.
No matter what industry you’re in, the physical solution is not what the client (internal or external) wants. They don’t really want a set of folding table risers, or a lockout/tagout system, or a playlist or beautiful bouquet of flowers.
What they really want is peace of mind, a smaller budget, a back that doesn’t hurt after a day of work.
How do you find out what customers want?
If your customers are someone other than yourselves, you may need to explore a little bit to find out what they want! Listening to what they’re saying is a good start. But also? Ask.
If you call us, we’ll talk to you! We want to make sure you get the right product. If you have a need for a bar height set, we don’t want you to buy our standard kitchen counter height set of 4 folding table risers instead! Getting you the right product the first time means lower costs for us, and therefore lower costs for our customers.
In addition, we’d like to know what you’re doing with our risers. How are we helping people? That’s how we came up with our standing desk and straight leg kits: our customers told us that’s what they needed.
Ask. Your clients might not know what the solution is, but they’ll know what their problems are!
You can ask in person, but an online survey is good too. Your customers might feel awkward telling you what they don’t like about your product or service. A survey with the possibility of remaining anonymous provides more accurate feedback than you’ll receive otherwise.
And as some of you know, offering a sweetener (for us, a free set of risers) helps you get more feedback.
Why is it so important to know what your customers want?
We’re all busy. We’ve all got plenty of things to do outside work with family, friends, and even pets. Solve someone’s problem for them and they will be happy and grateful. Save them time, save them money.
Remember, the want is not about the risers or the material data info sheet or the backdrop for the trade show booth. It’s about human needs and wants. The better you understand what they are, the better positioned you are to provide for those.
Happy customers whose problems you’ve solved are ones that provide referrals, bonuses, promotions, etc. The ones you want to keep!
How do you find out what your customers want? Let us know in the comments!