5 ways to focus on the customer to grow your business
by Joe Galvin
Top-performing CEOs understand that whether you aspire to enter new markets, win new business or sell more to existing accounts, you need to be relentlessly focused on customers.
Data from our Q1 2019 CEO Confidence Index report indicates that many CEOs of small and midsize businesses are optimistic about their firm’s growth prospects this year. Nearly three-quarters (70%) of the 1,729 CEOs surveyed anticipate that their firm’s sales revenues will increase during the next 12 months, while another 22% expect them to remain the same. Only 7% expect revenues to decrease.
What makes so many CEOs confident about their growth prospects? Our CEO Projections for 2019 report reveals that it boils down to having a strong strategy. CEOs say they’re focusing their strategies around three priorities this year:
- Expansion. Companies are entering new geographies and markets, acquiring competitors or adjacent businesses, and introducing new products or services.
- Talent. Firms are hiring and training salespeople to increase market reach and penetration, as well as sales leaders to drive accountability and performance.
- Marketing. Firms are projecting messages about customer value through digital and human channels with the goal of creating demand in new and existing markets.
There’s one variable that unites these three priorities: customers.
Make customers the priority
When asked about priorities for customer engagement, CEOs cited customer service as their no. 1 priority this year. Customer-facing resources directly reflect your brand and business. They can also serve as a powerful revenue generator by identifying new opportunities to grow with existing customers or grow new customers from referrals. Here are 5 ways to become more customer-centric:
- Align your sales teams with your customer service teams. Together, these teams create what becomes the customer experience.
- Recognize the implications of customer experiences. Customer culture is the aggregate of customer experiences with your company, whether those experiences are created through digital or human interactions.
- Provide consistent and clear messaging across all platforms. This will help you build trust and strong connections with your customers.
- Give your customers something (good) to talk about. Customers are your best source of referrals. They will talk to others about their experiences with your customer culture, so make sure those experiences are overwhelmingly positive. Develop a referral program that is driven by customer service asking for referrals, which will then turn into new sales leads.
- Leverage artificial intelligence to provide world-class service. Consider whether AI can help automate simple tasks and give your teams more time to deal with complex customer service issues. Some experts say that, in the near future, companies are going to start combining human interactions with AI technology to provide exceptional customer services.
This article first appeared in Inc.com