How to Align Business Strategy With Customer Needs
In order for your company to be successful, it is crucial that you and your employees work to align business strategy with customer needs. Whether your business has been around for decades or is a startup, you constantly need to be assessing changing trends in the market and in the evolving mindsets of consumers. The tricky part is that many consumers are either incapable of articulating or don’t care to articulate their desires to businesses. However, there are a few methods you can use to get the information necessary to create a profitable strategy that is able to move with the market.
Take Some Time to Do Ethnographic Research
The anthropological practice of ethnographic research is the act of observing the group of people in which you are interested in their natural location and state. When attempting to align business strategy with customer needs, conducting ethnographic research means watching and interacting with customers as if you are one of them, instead of some business suit trying to pry profitable information out of them.
When you do this, take advantage of the unfiltered point of view by making note of their methods for deciding on a purchase, how they use that purchase, how they interact with your website and how they fill needs not currently offered by your business. Use this information to have a discussion with your customers. This will quickly give you a list of possible improvements and innovations that can be made for the business.
Initiate Direct Contact With Consumers
Talking directly to the lifeblood of the business is an imperative step to align business strategy with customer needs. Done in a vacuum, plainly asking people what they want is not likely to yield insightful results. On the other hand, this acts as a great follow-up to the fieldwork research because you can craft your questions in a way that appeals to what you have observed. A few ways to get your questions out there include:
-Issuing a short email survey to frequent customers
-Calling for comments via the business’s social media pages
-Positioning an interviewer outside the store
The important thing here is to make it fast and simple for people to provide answers to your questions. As a general rule of thumb, the easier it is for consumers to do something, the more likely they are to do it.
Ask Employees for Information
Nobody has as much frequent exposure to such a large pool of customers as your team of employees, which makes them ideal sources for gathering information to align business strategy with customer needs. People tend to be more open about their feelings toward a company, store or product while speaking with day-to-day workers than they are with higher-ups. Get together with your employees at regular intervals to ensure you always have the latest information. Some questions you might ask them are:
-What items do customers often browse without purchasing
-What seems to disappoint customers, what seems to please them and why
-What are some of the consumers’ favorite products
-Which products receive the most complaints
-What goods or services do people regularly inquire about that are not currently offered by the business
The answers you receive to these questions are great tools in your belt to use for more direct interactions with customers and can give you hints as to what actions you can take right away.
Approach New Employees for Insight
Though daily employees and frequent customers are great for gathering information, there are limitations to both groups. Your steadfast workers’ familiarity with regular proceedings can make it difficult for them to come up with ways to align business strategy with customer needs since they are used to things being a certain way. On the other hand, customers may not be capable of giving you the information you need to effectively grow the company due to their lack of familiarity with business procedures.
However, there is also a third source you can tap into that will give you arguably the best-rounded view of the business and its patrons: new hires. Ask them for their opinions of your products and services right from the start, since this is the time when their mindset is still most like that of a customer. Then, after they have become integrated with proceedings, return with questions about methods of improvement. The new hires will appreciate your interest in their opinions and you will gain unique insight.
While you continue to find ways to align business strategy with customer needs, be sure to also continue consulting the resources of Mighty Recruiter to stay current on the latest trends.