Creating Relevance for your Customers

“Being relevant to your customers only when you’re trying to sell something means choosing to be irrelevant to them for the rest of the time.” – Stan Slap

More information, wide variety of products and a plethora of companies to choose from – sounds like customers have their work cut out for them! In this sea of choices and limited time, it would seem like a daunting task to make the right choice despite the large reserves of information available. This is where the aspect of customer service comes to the fore and if your company can create relevance for your customers even in this melee, then you know that your customer service strategy is pointed in the right direction. Technology is advancing at break-neck speed – everyone now has information at their fingertips and can access this data from anywhere and at any time. However, the information is of no use if customers cannot find what is relevant and useful to them. Create relevance for your customers through -pertinent and focused messages, allowing them to get this data from their preferred channel of communication and also offering personalized information. These are just some ways of how companies can reduce customer effort, ensure clarity and make the information relevant and value-added. When your company can support the customers in any manner, it amounts to creating relevance for you customers.

The great news about being able to create relevance for your customers is that it is the starting point of growth, innovation and long term success. It is that aspect of business where a company will anticipate customer needs and proactively cater to these needs – they are a few steps ahead of the customer’s thoughts. In the words of Steve Jobs – “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” It was this forward thinking approach and customer service mind-set that allowed him to create products that are known to be far superior when compared to a number of other offerings and also has been able to build a loyal customer base. Creating relevance for your customers is about striding alongside them and sometimes ahead of them to ensure that they get what they want, when they want and how they want – turning them into loyal and profitable brand ambassadors for the company. Relevance for your customers seems like a given – there is no point of a business if it does not create what customers consider significant and important and have no use for.

Creating relevance for your customers is obvious but there are a number of factors that contribute towards making this happen. It is not enough to be plateaued at keeping customers comfortable for now – there could be sudden market changes, some external circumstances that could push your company from being ‘comfortable’ to a possibly ‘precariously dangerous’ one. This would mean that your customers no longer feel happy being with your company and decide to look elsewhere – as business drops your company would also find itself losing relevance for its employees and soon have to face the dreaded employee attrition. The fact is that your company were to remain rooted in its bureaucracy and fixated on creating products from traditional intelligence, you would never be able create relevance for your customers since customer behaviour is unpredictable and ever changing.

To create relevance for your customers and remain so, companies would need to focus on relationships with their customers based on what customers want. It would mean revamping company strategies and policies to comply with customer demands ensuring that the company gives them what they consider important and of use. We know that the life-blood of any company is its customers and so it is a given that whatever your company does must be of relevance for your customers – every other thing that is irrelevant must be done away with.

Creating relevance for your customers must become a habit for it to be sustainable. It is the need of the hour to leverage the knowledge, that a company has of customers through data and feedback, to drive enhanced awareness and efficacy of their systems and offerings. Not moving ahead and remaining relevant for your customers could be the slow death that most companies dread. It is not just about retaining your current customer base but also ensuring that you are able to attract new ones and make them as profitable as your company would want them to be. Creating relevance for your customers is actually the sense of urgency that companies feel and it is this feeling that saves them from stagnation and ultimate decline. When your company constantly remains relevant for its customers, they are more than willing to endorse this fact and will reward the company in more ways than one. In addition, your success will keep your best talent with you, there will lowered costs and enhanced reputation – all factors that keep a company and their offerings ‘highly visible’ and in the forefront despite the overwhelming numbers of other companies and brands.

If and when a company fails to be relevant for its customers, the tendency is to blame external circumstances and find ‘reasonable’ explanations for why they could not do better. Customers do not have the time or inclination to be with a company based on assurances. They need proof and evidence that the company is committed to creating offerings and service that they would find useful and significant. If companies ignore the ‘tell-tale’ signs like dropping business, reduced membership renewals, rise in complaints and other such signs, they could soon find themselves phased out and no longer ‘useful’ to their customers. Competitors don’t wait to ‘pounce’ on such opportunities and the agile companies will immediately fill in the gaps left by a company that is unable to create relevance for its customers – that company could be yours.

Creating relevance for your customers makes your company practical and ‘socially’ acceptable too. There is hardly any company in business today that does not support its endeavours via social media as well. These sites are amongst the most visible and easy methods to stay relevant and in constant focus with your customers. They add to the relevance of a company and its brand since they help customers to address their needs and do swiftly and efficiently. Creating relevance for your customers is also about putting swiftly into action every promise made by your company – whether it is better products, higher quality customer service, lower prices and other such aspects that customers find useful and would like to maintain their relationship with you.

We have discussed at length, that one of the main reasons for a customer to choose one product or company over another is purely emotional. Creating relevance for your customers is about addressing and catering to those emotions and connecting your company and its brand to them such that there is a long lasting bond that translates to loyalty and profitability and also glowing testimonials and on-going referrals. This effectively means that creating relevance for your customers is about making your brand / product lend efficacy and meaning to their life and the difference should be so impactful that it not only changes their mind-set but cements it in your favour.

Creating relevance for your customers is about kick-starting the kind of customer behaviour you would want for the success of your company and then aim at providing the kind of service and offerings that would sustain the behaviour. Customers, as pointed out, have a plethora of choices but they will choose only what is most significantly relevant for them. Make them want to spend their money with you by creating relevance for your customers and making it a sustained habit.

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