2014 is the year of understanding customers
Many of us think we understand our customers but then they take some action which really surprises us. Like not giving us an order or even moving to a competitor. Typically our automatic reaction is that it’s a price based decision. It’s an easy was of justifying a decision while at the same time avoiding blame. That’s why it’s so often used by Sales.
Price will always be a consideration but making a “good” decision is even more important to customers. The impact of making a “good” decision is even stronger in BtoB because making a buying decision that does not turn out well can be career limiting.
How do buyers avoid making “bad” decisions?
So if price is not the top criteria what is? Unfortunately it’s not a criteria that can be as definitively and easily measured as price. It’s mainly about how people perceive you and your business through their perhaps somewhat bias eyes. Typically BtoB buyers assess potential suppliers against three main criteria: Relationship, Expertise and Trust. It’s what I call the RET Factor.
From a suppliers perspective anything they do which could negatively impact any of these three factors could result in fewer customers buying from them. Of course the opposite is also true and anything that could positively impact a RET factor could led to increased sales and better customer loyalty. That’s why companies are striving much harder to understand what their customers really want and why 2014 will be the year of understanding customers.
Better understanding customers
The first step is to understand how customers rate you now. I do a lot of RET surveys and almost without exception companies think that their customers will rate them higher than they actually do. With evidence from surveys its much easier to decide what actions to take and what things to leave along. Without this evidence organisations will continue doing what they think is best which is often not what customers want. Have a look at the survey results which will explain this in more detail.
Companies who really understand what’s important to their customers using the RET factor and act on the findings will be the ones who are successful in 2014, 2015, 2016 and onward.