Importance of Educating your Customers

“You need a sales and marketing organization that is oriented toward educating customers rather than just taking orders, providing a real service rather than moving boxes. This is extremely important”. – Steve Jobs

The quote expresses the essence of the success of any company’s selling propositions. Unless a company can lucidly communicate the benefit they bring to the customers, why only they offer ‘real’ customer service and the methods they employ to resolve their customer’s problems. This is different to blowing your trumpet about who you are. At the outset customers want to know what you can do for them and the first step must be educating your customers on how your services and products will add value to their business and success. It is foolish to assume that your target audience knows and understands who you are and what you do. Educating your customers is perhaps one of the most useful, effective and practical methods to promote and market your company’s offerings. Unless your target audience knows you, all the money and resources spent on promotions and marketing will be a complete waste. A powerful and effective promotion is one that is aimed at educating your customer as it is a sure shot way to increase sales and turn people in to loyal and profitable customers.

When prospective customers approach a company, they may appear to know about the product and or service, but this knowledge is not complete and is insufficient to help them decide. That is the reason they connect with a company to start with. In the words of Steve Jobs: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Although not an entirety, this holds true for the product and service your company offers and would be the reason that a prospective customer is apprehensive of your company’s offerings. Unless you make the time for educating your customers, they will be unsure if the offering is right for them, whether they will get a good deal, will the offering be good enough and also what other choices are available that could be better. Having these uncertainties in their mind will keep the prospective customer uncomfortable and distrusting and will prevent them from making a decision in your favour and possibly be veered away by competition.

However, if your company makes every effort in educating your customers, they would have a balanced understanding and approach to the offerings and also the other products that are available in the market. The benefit of educating your customers at the start is that they get the confidence they need to go ahead with a purchase and also learn to trust your company since they received balanced and upfront knowledge of the market. Customers would also learn to see you as a source of information that they can bank on and approach each time they do need ‘market intelligence’.

Educating your customers / Customer orientation is an extremely crucial part of building bonds with customers and retaining them. Educating your customers is not a one-time process but lasts throughout the customer’s journey with your company. It is the company’s responsibility to keep the customer informed and educated on the various aspects of their company and also the trends that could be useful to their customers. It is only through being completely informed that the customer will place absolute trust in your company and over time would become loyal and increasingly profitable. So what are some of the things that should happen in the first stage, orientation, of educating your customers?

– Showing gratitude and appreciation to a person turned customer is a great way to establish a bond. This is a great way of educating your customers in the kind of service they can expect as they go along with you. Use any channel that you deem appropriate to get this appreciation across. Imagine your new customer’s delight when they are thanked for their business over the very visible social media channel.

– Make it a point to let your customers know the distinct advantages they will receive by buying and using your offerings and the customer service they can expect. Highlight your company’s and product’s, USP and strengths. Let them know what sets you apart from others and be sure to include some aspects they need improving. Educating your customers with all-round information makes them know that your company is trust-worthy and that you will keep their best interests in mind before anything else.

– Sending off a message or a piece of information is not enough. It is important to check back with your customer if they found the information useful and also provided them with a better understanding of what your company does and how it can add value to their business.

– Part of educating your customers, involves updating yourself too with information about them. The data they provide initially while becoming a customer would have a large chunk of demographic information but to make this information valuable for your marketing activities, you would need some additional details. Sending out a customer survey that asks focused questions about their likes, dislikes, eating out patterns, family size, income, lifestyle and other such details, would make it easier to provide more personalized service to the customers.

– Remember not just to educate your customers on your products and service but also let them know the reason that your company came in to existence and why it continues to do what it does. Let them see the essence and spirit of your company. This draws customers closer to your company and encourages feelings of trust and loyalty.

– Once a customer makes a purchase, don’t wait for them to enquire into what else your company has to offer. Educating your customers should be a pro-active approach and provide them with a plethora of choices to help them transit to the next purchase more easily.

– Ensure that the channels you use in educating your customers are the same ones that the customer prefers to communicate through. Matching the on-line ‘footsteps’ of your customers will make it simpler to inform them of your new launches, customer forums, loyalty programs and any other information that might be interesting and of value to them.

– Part of educating your customers must go beyond telling them only about your products and field of expertise. Provide them with industry information, vital tips on other subjects and such information that they could use. For example – if your company sells laptops, provide them with localized information on broad band service providers, laptop accessories and other such information. This broader spectrum of information gains the favour of your customers and they see you as a solution provider. The can see that you are not making a profit from the information but are providing it solely for the convenience of your customers and in the spirit of stellar customer service. Your company will be seen not just as an expert in your field of operation but as a value added partner in other realms as well.

Educating your customer at the very start of the relationship lets them know that you have no malicious intents and are there to help them make judicious and beneficial choices. When was the last time that you educated your customers?

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