In the course of my week talk to many different businesses and I often wonder if they are giving their clients and customers what they want? In business, we might prefer to offer a particular service, but I wonder how often business owners are not ‘listening’ to their clients and in fact offering something they may not want? Consequently those clients leave that business to seek out a supplier who will give them what they want.
Let me share some examples of not giving clients what they want:
- A website designer who is regularly asked to build websites on popular platforms, such as WordPress or Joomla, but won’t move to these models.
- An accounting practice that gets requests for monthly packages so that they can spread their accounting fees over a whole year, not get one larger invoice.
- A plumbing service that regularly gets requests for solar hot water options, but refuses to offer this choice.
- A café (particularly in an industrial estate) that constantly gets asked “do you do burgers or pies?” but prefers to prepare more elaborate, healthy or upmarket meals.
- A bookkeeper who has enquiries every day about Xero online, but will only use Quickbooks desktop version.
- A cabinet maker who is constantly asked to do shop fittings, but wants to only focus on residential kitchens.
I totally understand that there are reasons that we may not offer all services. It may be that we only have the materials and resources to provide a particular service. It may be that a particular service provides a low margin, or you are not skilled in a particular area. In other instances, clients are asking us to cut corners or provide an inferior product.
If you are being constantly asked for a particular service or product, then consider whether it’s worthwhile to consider offering that service or product?
In giving clients what they want it may be that you will need to:
- Gain further skills
- Invest in some equipment
- Train your staff
- Or at the very least, change your mindset.
In the above you should weigh up the costs of change, and determine if you believe it is viable for you to change. If the reason you don’t provide that service is because YOU have always done it that way, then perhaps it’s time to rethink your reasoning. Ultimately it is your choice, however, if that choice equates to you losing business and possibly to a critical level, then I do suggest you at least consider what your customers are asking you for.
A favourite expression of mine is:
Just be prepared to as least listen and consider whether the requests are worth investigating. Another point to remember, what one person openly asks for, you can bet there are another 10 clients who simply keep quiet, but often disappear and you never hear from them again. That one person that speaks up may well be speaking the thoughts of many. If you are not sure, then ask your customers – either as you see them (most effective means) or ringing them up or surveying them via email or post.
Remember, if you don’t listen to your customers, be assured one of your competitors will be prepared to do so. Call me at 1800 77 65 61 to get your business on the right track.