ADVOCATE COLUMN 4th WEEK JULY 2017
Business exists to serve a market need. Generally they have been established to earn an income for someone or some group. So it is important for the business owner to understand that the customer or market is their only source of income and as such it is essential that the business owner has a very clear understanding of who their market is and what market need are the meeting. If you have a clear understanding of your value proposition and who your market is, then the next thing to ask is what is that you do or don’t do, that makes it difficult for your market to engage or transact with your business.
The simple examination of identifying the pain points that exist for customers are what has set apart some of today’s leading businesses. Some things that make it hard may be beyond your direct control and I guess an example of this might be something such as parking restrictions in the inner city or lack of foot traffic wherever your physical location may be. However perhaps there are aspects of your premises physical layout or your behaviour or practices that make it unnecessarily hard for people to do business with you.
So if we look at changing demographics, an aging population and in some cases those in our community who may be less mobile; what is their customer experience likely to be and how can the business owner make that experience easier. This is often a matter of minor physical changes to shop layouts, of ensuring there is seating when waiting is required, of staff being aware of what is required to meet the needs of all customer types and being responsive to feedback when given.
Because we work in our businesses everyday and are familiar with the workplace environment we often fail to recognise what physical elements of our workplace and what behaviours take place there that can be a barrier to our customers either engaging with us in the first place or if they have engaged deciding it is too hard to do so again. There is real benefit in recognising that the market is changing and so are the needs of the customer. This is one time where the scale of a small business and the ability to adapt quickly gives them an advantage over their larger competitors. If the business owner puts themselves in the position of their customer they may find some simple changes that would increase customer engagement and therefore improve their bottom line