Think you know your customers? Think again!

By: Ron Kaufman

Many people say they know who their customers are. But an alarming number, especially in the B2B world, have only a shallow clue.

Ask yourself these questions, and then think again:

Do you understand your…

1. Do you know your customers’ business?

Do you know the dynamics of what they do? How do they work and how do they measure their success?

2. Do you know your customers’ industry?

Do you know the history, current changes and major issues of the day of your customer’s industry?

3. Are you up-to-date with trends?

Do you know what trends are on the rise? Do you know which trends are fading and which ones are lurking over your customers’ horizon?

4. Do you know who your customers are?

Who are they? Where are they? How many customers does your customer have you have and is your customer’s costomer base changing? Does your customer’s customer have rising expectations?

5. Do you know your customers’ allies?

Who are your customers collaborating with, and for what purpose? What’s been working for them? And what about it isn’t working for them?

6. Do you know your customers’ history?

Do you their past glories, trials and tribulations, heroes, milestones and achievements?

7. Customers’ Future

Do you their plans, directions and investments?

8. Technology

What technology is installed and foundational for your customers? Are you aware of the current state of technology and what advances are coming? Have you researched the  technological possibilities available to you customers and which ones they’re considering?

9. Competition

Who are your customers’ competitors? How many are out there? Who has market share? In what directions are they growing?

10. Internal politics

Who are their people and what are their preferences? Who hold the positions of power?

11. What are their procedures?

When and how do they get things done? Do they set goals, budgets and specific targets?

12. What are your their hopes and aspirations?

What are they seeking and what are their cherished dreams?

13. What are their concerns and fears?

What are they afraid of–the uncertainties, the downside risks, the dangers? Are you aware of your customers’ opinion of you?

What do your customers think about you, your people and your organization? Do they see you as a valued ally or a necessary evil? Are they interested in working with you more closely or finding a replacement?

Do you really know your customers well enough to stand apart from your competition? Do you want to?

Then take new action now, before your competition beats you to it. Build an uplifting service culture for sustainable competitive advantage.