Brighton Chamber: Grow your customer base

Sean Adams
Sean Adams

Businesses face so many challenges today, but one of the most pressing issues troubling CEOs is growth.

Customer growth is a critical ingredient of an organisation’s success – how do we acquire more customers? How do we encourage existing customers to buy more? How do we migrate customers to higher margin offerings?

The importance of customers helps explain why so many organisations develop mission statements talking about ‘becoming more customer centric’ or ‘putting the customer at the heart of everything they do’.

But how well do organisations really know their customers? In a recent meta-analysis that compared what organisations thought was important to their customers, with what customers really value, the average alignment rate was only 48 per cent. In other words, in more than half of all situations, the organisation’s view of what is important to customers was out of sync with what customers wanted.

Whether your organisation is big or small, there are five simple steps you can take to help your organisation speak with one voice that the customer wants to hear, to grow your customer base.

1) Be clear and simple about your growth goal. What ‘unit’ are you seeking to grow? By how much? Over what time frame? Write it down and get all stakeholders to agree to it.

2) Define the audience most likely to deliver this growth goal. What do you know about them? How can you best reach them? Be specific and detailed.

3) Identify your competitive set. This may not always be obvious. Think about it from the customer’s viewpoint. What need do they have? Who else can satisfy that need?

4) Develop a list of ‘choice factors’ you feel could possibly influence customer decision making. List them all. Again, be specific. Seek input from across the business in developing this list.

5) Seek customer feedback. This can be done in various ways from informal phone calls to more robust research surveys. The aim is the same though – firstly, to establish how important each choice factor is to your customers and secondly, to assess how highly they rate your organisation and your competitors on those criteria.

Repeat the latter stage with a set of internal stakeholders too for comparison and you will have all the data you need to identify some (potentially surprising) new growth opportunities and better align your organisation towards achieving your growth goal.

Sean Adams, founder of The Seed Consulting, is leading a Brighton Chamber Bite-sized Learning session on how to grow your customer base on June 19. For more information visit: {http://www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/events|www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/events