Using IT To Focus On Your Customer

November 10, 2009

Early on in a B2B organization’s growth, you probably had one or two key customers. Your business was geared solely and completely to focusing on those customers. You focused like a laser beam on their needs, their wants, and their requirements.

However, as we develop more customers and grow our business, we can begin to develop a tendency to focus  inwardly rather than that laser like outward focus on our customers. You can recognize this tendency when people’s job descriptions become so specific on tasks, that there is no mention  of how those tasks affect, improve, or alter the satisfaction of your customer base.

I freely admit, many of these ideas I mention below blur the line between marketing and IT (which is why both those functions should be joined at the hip) but as many growing businesses don’t have full time marketing staff, lets look at some ways that IT can help fill in the gap.

1) Actively monitor what people are saying about you, and about your competitors. Setting up tools such as Google alerts, or Twitter search will alert you to conversations that are happening. These conversations could give you insights on improvements to your offerings that competitors don’t have, or even highlight a prospect who is dissatisfied with a competitive product. Funneling this information through the appropriate parts of your business could be as simple as an e-mail.

2) Actively monitor how people are using, or hoping to use, products such as yours. To do this, ensure that you have set up analytic software on your Web Site, and secondly, using tools such as Google’s Ad-Words key word tool, look at the search queries that people use when looking for tools or solutions in your space.

As an example, in my organizations product space, I was able to identify that the term E-Mail was often used in conjunction with the keywords I was looking at. I can translate little piece of data that into;

Show me products in this space that can send E-Mail for me.

This shows me that having our solutions E-Mail enabled (they are) is something that we should call more attention to in our marketing and Web Site content.

3) For your existing customers, If they order from you every month, is re-ordering a round of faxes and telephone calls? or can IT create a system that allows these orders to be created easily and electronically?

4) Actively record and report on all issues that come in to you via telephone or e-mail. Data that is too often ignored! but if 10 calls a week are about the same concern or issue; what are you waiting for?

The SMB Takeawy

Nothing magical about the above ideas, they boil down to one thing; listening, and responding to what your customer needs.

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