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Do your customers really know your business?

The thoughts of Richard Osborne on many subjects over the years.

Do your customers really know your business?

Last month I ran a customer survey across all customers who had placed an order with my Quick Formations business at least once over the past 2 years. If you are interested you can read more about that specific survey on the Quick Formations Blog. If you would like to run your own survey I can highly recommend the guys at SurveyLab who helped bring the survey together, write the questions correctly and managed the process for us.

I was amazed at how much I learnt about my own business from this survey, a lot more than I expected to learn and one particular issue was a very uncomfortable truth. I’ve got my communications wrong, and all this time I thought I had it right. Now I’m not saying I’ve got it completely wrong because there is a lot right, but my company has been missing out on a lot more business than what we could have been doing if I’d communicate with our customers better.

The issue is that I employ some very skilled staff who are more than capable of doing some quite complex work in relation to the Companies Act and associated statutory compliance/company secretarial matter. For example, EMI schemes, management buy outs, right through to PLC work. Yet it was clear from our survey that a whole lot of our customers do not think that we have that capability, and since running our survey I’ve been monitoring how our staff sell to customers on the phone and I’ve been reviewing how we communicate to our customers. Firstly it’s obvious I’ve not been communicating the image, the branding, properly internally to my staff for them to then communicate that message externally. Then in the messages both myself and the staff have been sending out we’ve not been communication the message correctly of our firms capabilities.

Beyond all this, the branding of the business has become a trusted and recognised brand in the industry as we roll into our 9th year trading. Yet as the company has grown up that brand, that image, reflects our limited skills from when I started it at home in 2002, it doesn’t reflect what the company has grown into as we approach 2011. This raises the question I need to consider, should I look at my company’s branding, is it time we had a face lift:?

There is a lot that we do very well, and the feedback from the customers reflected friendliness, approachability, and just as importantly “Trust” in us. There was a lot of possitive comments about the staff and, dare I say it, me too. I’ve always worked hard to ensure that despite having started out as an Internet business we would not be a faceless website but a professional firm that have a website. A lot of that has been successfully done and we have a wonderful and loyal customer base, but I’ve realised that we have made the “schoolboy error” of not communicating our range of services and offering correctly out to our customers. They trust what they feel we are good at but few realised what more we are capable of. The only way I was able to find that out was by asking my customers what they thought of my business, and quite simply asking what range of services they were aware that we offered. I was surprised, and pleased, to see that the feedback asked us to make them more aware. I have learnt the obvious truth that if customers like dealing with you then they want to know more about what your company does, and how you can help them.

Run your own survey asking your customers what they think of your business, and also what they know about your business. You may be surprised.

One Comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Richard Osborne, Gavin Llewellyn. Gavin Llewellyn said: Do your customers really know your business? http://ow.ly/3cCmY -> Interesting blog post from @RichardOsborne. Check it out! […]