How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

4 Ways To Identify Problems In Your Customer Service Training Program

Delivering a delightful Customer Experience is important than ever before. Today’s customers are willing to pay more for great service. A recent survey found that 7 out of 10 US consumers reported that they have spent more money to do business with a company that provided excellent service [1]. This has made Customer Experience one of the top brand differentiators. Over two-thirds of businesses today, compete solely based on Customer Experiences [2].

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

This has led many organizations to invest in improving their customer service. It was found that 88% of organizations are focusing on improving their customer service experiences [3]. According to recent research, improving your Customer Experience even by a small amount can greatly increase your profits. In a recent study, it was found that a moderate increase in Customer Experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenue.

Although most companies know that providing excellent Customer Experience is essential to success, many are still struggling to identify problems with their customer service. But identifying problems with your customer service is easier than you might think. There are 4 simple ways you can identify problems with your existing customer service training program.

1. Ask Your Customers

One of the simplest and most effective ways to identify problems with your customer service is by asking your customers. You can do this by giving customers the option to fill out a brief survey or rate their experience. To keep participation high, try keeping the survey short by asking no more than five questions. Longer surveys usually get fewer participants. It is also helpful to provide at least one open-ended question where customers can share their thoughts. These questions often lead to helpful insights that will help you identify problems and create subsequent solutions.

2. Encourage Reviews

It is important to encourage customer reviews online. Most customers are comfortable with leaving reviews than taking surveys. Reviews will help you identify both why your organization is doing well and what needs to be improved. It also gives you the unique advantage of having a conversation. Unlike surveys, you can respond to reviews. If a customer leaves a complaint or negative review, you can not only identify the problem to prevent it from occurring in the future, you can also respond to the customer and resolve their problem.

3. Ask Your Employees

Your customer service teams are also an important resource when it comes to identifying customer service issues. Your team members are your companies’ direct link to customers. They have the ability to gauge how your customers are feeling and let you know if there are any patterns they could notice. Asking your employees about customer satisfaction is as easy as having a quick conversation with employees or sending out a survey to all your reps. Whatever method you choose, asking your employees for feedback is a great step towards identifying problems and finding solutions.

4. Track Returning Customers

Data can tell you a lot about your interaction with customers. The amount of repeat business you receive will help you measure brand loyalty. A high rate of repeat business tells you that you are probably doing something right. However, if you see a pattern of customers who do not return or make another purchase. It is an indicator that you may have problems with your customer service. By tracking customer patterns and habits, you can pinpoint where exactly the problem is occurring in the customer cycle.

Rectifying The Issues With Existing Customer Service Training Program

After you identify what areas of customer service are needed to be taken care of, you can start thinking about developing a customer service training program to improve your employee’s customer service skills. Creating a customized training program that focuses on strengthening your employee’s skills will ensure that every employee will know how to exceed customer expectations.

To get started you can use the information you have gathered from surveys to find out what kind of training skills your employees would benefit from the most. Most organizations find that employees need some combination of training in soft skills, product knowledge and a working knowledge of the organization’s values. The next step is to create content and implement training by using a blended training method and the 70:20:10 framework. This framework structures 70% of training using experiential methods. Another 20% around social learning and the last 10% around formal training.

Using a custom training plan to address and prevent future problems with your customer service is an excellent way to ensure that your organization is providing the best service possible.

Summary

Purchasing from a company that provides excellent customer service is a priority for many consumers. The quality of Customer Experience you provide is now one of the top brand differentiators potential customers consider before making a purchase. This makes identifying and solving problems with your customer service a crucial part of increasing your profits and brand reputation.

Creating a customized customer service training plan to address specific weak points in your organization’s customer service is one of the most effective ways to improve your organization’s customer service. To improve any customer service training, it is important to identify the problem that exists in the current program. The eBook The Advanced Guide To Top Your Customer Service Training Game will help you to identify the problems and create a customer service plan that consolidates a blended training approach to deliver a lasting customer experience.

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Know your customers better because only they can help you get more lead and more business. Understanding customers is the key to giving them good service which in turn results into strong customer relationships and new sales through positive word-of-mouth recommendation. However, understanding the customers’ psyche is not easy and most often requires a thoughtful analysis to identify their preferences or purchase patterns so that you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.

In what holds further is a list of six easy ways to understand your customers better. Read, comprehend and imbibe them in your working approach to engage with the customers better and ultimately sell them more.

1. Track Customers’ Real-Time Behavior

Today’s customers demand nothing less than a seamless experience across both traditional and digital touch points. To do this, a business needs to be prompt and proactive in its approach. It needs to anticipate the customers needs to serve them on all platforms even before the requirement is actually placed.

And all this can only happen when you have a tool that gives you a peep into the real-time behavior of the customers. Experts suggest investing in a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that provides an in-depth analytics of the customers’ activities. One of the best instances to corroborate this is CRM’s email marketing functionality.

Most of the renowned CRMs offer robust email marketing functionality with real-time tracking.

Using the software, you can

Track the performance of your email marketing campaigns
Track each campaign result through fields such as Total Sent / Attempted; Opened / Viewed; Link clicked; Un-subscribed; Bounce / Invalid
Understand your target audience better by jotting down a list of their likes and dislikes
Presenting their preferences with highly visual, context-rich Bar, Pie, and Line charts for quick analytics.

Jane Miller comments – Majority of the Big Players in the market do ‘needs anticipation’. All thanks to the easy to use CRM technology that has given them the power to extract, blend and analyze real-time customer data to identify customer preferences and purchase patterns and predict customer needs before even customers say so.

2. Identify the different categories of your Customers

Tagging them together in the same group only leads to generic cross-selling campaigns that do not generate any fruitful results. It’s important to understand the different parameters on which you can segregate your customers. Let’s say – the type of products/services they buy, frequency of purchase, geographic location of the customers and so on.

Once the categories are formed and customers are segregated, it becomes easier to frame precise marketing and cross-selling campaigns with targeted messaging. Needless to say, these campaigns drive more value for both your business and your customers.

3. Invest on Social Media Customer Engagement

Reason being that reports like IBM CEO Insights has stated that consumers are active on social media channels for no less than 6 hours a day. This clearly explains the indispensable role that social media plays in shaping and influencing the opinions of the consumers.

In such a scenario, it becomes essential for every business to invest exhaustively on social media engagement. So frame strategies to engage with your target audience and customers on all social media channels as they are clearly the best place to reach them.

Tip: Do not opt for push advertising in social media. Unlike other traditional platforms where these old-school marketing tactics can work, social media calls for compelling, authentic campaigns that involves real and informative elements. We suggest using Social CRM tools to run social campaigns. It will empower you to run different campaigns on all leading social channels and aggregate user data across all streams.
Not just this, integrating your customers’ social profiles into the CRM will provide you a live feed of all the updates done by your customers. This will act as an added resource from where you can get a better idea of your customers like the type of discussions your customers mostly participate into.

4. Leverage Customer Service Interactions

This is one of the best times to get a peep into the customers psyche. So frame a questionnaire and hand it over to your customer service representatives.

On every occasion when your customers contact your service representatives, they can ask queries about the customers likes/dislikes in relation to the product or service usage. Example:

How they are using the product or service?
Are they satisfied using the product/service?
What are the changes they would like to see in the product/service?

Practicing this experience regularly, will help you accumulate a database of valuable customer insights that can be used to frame targeted messaging.

5. Focus on Customers’ Personal Tastes and Preferences

Nurturing your customers with informative contents about your product/service is good but do not limit yourself to only that. Sometimes facilitating to the generic interests of the customers serves a great purpose too. It gives the impression of how attentive you are towards your customers and brings your buyers inches closer to you.

Many startup ventures follow this policy where they use the consumer data in CRM database to frame materials/resources that resonate with the other interests of the customers. For instance sharing of articles around the newest trends that is happening in some other industries not necessarily related to the company’s own product/service.
The idea is that instead of continuously sending contents in relation to the product/service (which often gets monotonous), sparking conversations around other universal topics generates multiple opportunities to create a conversation thread with the customers.

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

6. Build Comprehensive Contact Information

Make sure you have one centralized database that holds an accurate and detailed contact list. Although there are different methods to it, notion comes close to a robust easy to use CRM application. This is the reason why millions of businesses per annum implement a cloud based CRM solution to neatly store every piece of customer data. Needless to say this helps to build a rich customer profile and ably handle the ongoing interactions between customer and the company.

If you have found this article informative, kindly leave your comments below.

Achieving Excellence in the Things That Really Matter

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Adding value link by link to make your business stronger.

Value Chain Analysis is a useful tool for working out how you can create the greatest possible value for your customers.

In business, we’re paid to take raw inputs, and to “add value” to them by turning them into something of worth to other people. This is easy to see in manufacturing, where the manufacturer “adds value” by taking a raw material of little use to the end user (for example, wood pulp) and converting it into something that people are prepared to pay money for (e.g. paper). But this idea is just as important in service industries, where people use inputs of time, knowledge, equipment, and systems to create services of real value to the person being served – the customer.

And remember that your customers aren’t necessarily outside your organization: they can be your bosses, your co-workers, or the people who depend on you for what you do.

Now, this is really important: in most cases, the more value you create, the more people will be prepared to pay a good price for your product or service, and the more they will keep on buying from you. On a personal level, if you add a lot of value to your team, you will excel in what you do. You should then expect to be rewarded in line with your contribution.

So how do you find out where you, your team or your company can create value?

This is where the “Value Chain Analysis” tool is useful. Value Chain Analysis helps you identify the ways in which you create value for your customers, and then helps you think through how you can maximize this value: whether through superb products, great services, or jobs well done.

This article looks at a simple approach to using value chains. A more structured approach was developed by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter (also creator of the 5 Forces tool) in his book, “Competitive Advantage”. You can find out more about this version by clicking here .

How to Use the Tool

Value Chain Analysis is a three-step process:

  1. Activity Analysis: First, you identify the activities you undertake to deliver your product or service.
  2. Value Analysis: Second, for each activity, you think through what you would do to add the greatest value for your customer.
  3. Evaluation and Planning: Thirdly, you evaluate whether it is worth making changes, and then plan for action.

We follow these through one by one:

Step 1 – Activity Analysis

The first step is to brainstorm the activities that you, your team or your company undertakes that in some way contribute towards your customer’s experience.

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Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges every business faces, whether they are large or small. These include things such as hiring the right people, building a brand, developing a customer base, and so on. However, there are some that are strictly small business problems, ones most large companies grew out of long ago. Here are the five biggest challenges for small businesses.

Key Takeaways

  • A small business should not allow itself to become dependent on a single client.
  • Having professional help with money management frees up a small business owner to focus on operating concerns.
  • It’s important to find the right balance between working long hours and business success.
  • A small business owner should not create a situation in which the business could not continue in their absence.

5 Biggest Challenges Facing Your Small Business

1. Client Dependence

If a single client makes up more than half of your income, you are more of an independent contractor than a business owner. Diversifying your client base is vital to growing a business, but it can be difficult, especially when the client in question pays well and on time. For many small businesses, having a client willing to pay on time for a product or service is a godsend.

Unfortunately, this can result in a longer-term handicap, because, even if you have employees and so on, you may be still acting as a subcontractor for a larger business. This arrangement allows the client to avoid the risks of adding payroll in an area where the work may dry up at any time. All of that risk is transferred from the larger company to you and your employees. This arrangement can work if your main client has a consistent need for your product or service. However, it is generally better for a business to have a diversified client base to pick up the slack when any single client quits paying.

2. Money Management

Having enough cash to cover the bills is a must for any business, but it is also a must for every individual. Whether it is your business or your life, one will likely emerge as a capital drain that puts pressure on the other. To avoid this problem, small business owners must either be heavily capitalized or able to pick up extra income to shore up cash reserves when needed. This is why many small businesses start out with the founders working a job and building a business simultaneously. While this split focus can make it difficult to grow a business, running out of cash makes growing a business impossible.

Money management becomes even more important when cash is flowing into the business. Although handling business accounting and taxes may be within the capabilities of most business owners, professional help is usually a good idea. The complexity of a company’s books increases with each client and employee, so getting an assist on the bookkeeping can prevent it from becoming a reason not to expand.

3. Fatigue

The hours, the work, and the constant pressure to perform wear on even the most passionate individuals. Many business owners—even successful ones—get stuck working much longer hours than their employees. Moreover, they fear their business will stall in their absence, so they avoid taking any time away from work to recharge.

Fatigue can lead to rash decisions about the business, including the desire to abandon it completely. Finding a pace that keeps the business humming without grinding down the owner is a challenge that comes early (and often) in the evolution of a small business.

4. Founder Dependence

If you get hit by a car, is your business still producing income the next day? A business that can’t operate without its founder is a business with a deadline. Many businesses suffer from founder dependence, and it is often caused by the founder being unable to let go of certain decisions and responsibilities as the business grows.

In theory, meeting this challenge is easy—a business owner merely has to give over more control to employees or partners. In practice, however, this is a big stumbling block for founders, because it usually involves compromising (at least initially) on the quality of work being done until the person doing the work learns the ropes.

Growth should never be the enemy of quality. A small business needs both.

5. Balancing Quality and Growth

Even when a business is not founder dependent, there comes a time when the issues from growth seem to match or even outweigh the benefits. Whether a service or a product, at some point a business must sacrifice in order to scale up. This may mean not being able to personally manage every client relationship or not inspecting every widget.

Unfortunately, it is usually that level of personal engagement and attention to detail that makes a business successful. Therefore, many small business owners find themselves tied to these habits to the detriment of the company’s development. There is a large middle ground between shoddy work and an unhealthy obsession with quality; it is up to the business owner to navigate the company’s processes toward a compromise that allows growth without hurting the brand.

The Bottom Line

The problems faced by small business are considerable, and one of the worst things a would-be owner can do is to go into business without considering the challenges ahead. We’ve looked at some ways to help make these challenges easier, but there is no avoiding them. On the other hand a competitive drive is often one of the reasons people start their own business, and every challenge represents another opportunity to compete.

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Compassionate Eye Foundation/Mark Langridge/Getty Images

Strengths and weaknesses play a major part in determining who we are as employees and as leaders. They inform how we decide what career paths to follow, what roles we should play, and the ways we perform in those roles.

From a manager’s perspective, identifying strengths and weaknesses is the secret to unlocking the potential of every employee and every team. This information enables leaders to make smarter decisions about assignments, deliver more effective performance reviews, and ensure that every employee can grow and succeed.

However, strengths and weaknesses often are relative, and employees often don’t know where they lie. As a leader, one of your most important jobs is to uncover these strengths and weaknesses and use that knowledge to drive productivity and engagement. Consider five ways to do so.

1. Being Direct and Real

Employees often are asked about their strengths and weaknesses during performance reviews, but these answers are rarely reliable. Attributes like “results-oriented self-starter” are vague and cliche, and employees may boast about strengths they do not have to boost their chances for a raise. Once you show your human side with employees and get them to overcome this hurdle, they are more likely to be honest about where they excel and where they struggle. Remember, you have to give the honesty to get it back.

An open, low-pressure conversation about strengths and weaknesses during a trip to the water cooler or while you’re out at lunch with them is a great way to start. Why wait for the performance review to start the dialog? Managers can cultivate a supportive environment by expressing their strengths and weaknesses first, and then invite employees to do so.

The goal is to develop self-aware employees who know what they are good at and what they need to work on. Managers should not shy away from or avoid these conversations and should recognize employees for being honest even when they make mistakes. Thank employees for taking a risk, even if they fail, and you may create a fearless office culture where people are free to think big and challenge one another. When you express gratitude for bold, courageous action, you also encourage people to own and share their mistakes so that everyone can learn from them.

2. User Profiles

One of the great things about the era of social media is that just about every one of your employees has accessible personal and professional profiles out there. A majority of enterprise organizations have social networks or social intranets that they use to communicate, collaborate, and connect distributed/large teams. Employees build profiles within these systems, as well as through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. These profiles provide a goldmine of information about employee’s interests, likes and dislikes, skills, experiences, and expertise.

Managers can learn about their employees based on the information they share in their profiles, and make decisions accordingly. For example, if a rep on your sales team expresses a strong interest in fashion on Facebook, then he might be a good person to assign to a prospective client in the fashion industry.

3. Listening, Observing

When you work daily with the same people, it can be difficult to see them clearly. Rather than a strength or a weakness, you just see that person acting normally. This can be a missed opportunity. If someone on your team is known for always being in a good mood and friendly, they also may be a natural diplomat. This is a strong asset for managers when trying to diffuse team tension, find a partner for a difficult employee to work with, or rally excitement for a new initiative.

Also, weaknesses may not be blatantly obvious. An employee who seems quiet may be apathetic, disengaged, and unassertive. As a manager, you may realize the distinction only if you see them acting differently in a different environment. Managers should make an extra effort to consider each employee as objectively as possible and within a wider context. Jotting down quick notes to describe how your employees are acting every day can be a good way to look for patterns.

4. Competition

Competition is a powerful way to bring out the best (or worst) in employees. It is a powerful motivator and can qualitatively and quantitatively throw strengths and weaknesses into sharp relief. Holding contests within teams and across organizations can be a fun and effective way to see who is a natural leader and who excels in certain areas. This can be useful generally and specifically.

If you are trying to figure out the best person to spearhead a new project, why not throw a contest to see who has the sharpest skills? On the weakness side, a contest is a quick way to see who lags behind. Moreover, friendly competition encourages teamwork, which will help boost team productivity over the longer term.

If it sounds like a trick, that’s because it is. It won’t solve major workplace problems, like the lack of intrinsic motivation, employees poorly matched to jobs or confusion about the larger business context. However, with bigger concerns out of the way, go ahead and use competition to get people to focus on the task at hand.

5. Intranet Activity

Enterprise social intranets hold a tremendous amount of valuable information about employee strengths and weaknesses if you know how to look for it. Managers can look at users’ activity to learn more about them.

What types of content do they post, and what does that reveal about their interests? Do they frequently ask for help or seem confused about something? That could be a sign that they need additional training or personal attention. Are they more vocal on the social intranet than in real life or vice versa? What does that say about their personality and how they work best? Maybe they are better at writing, rather than verbal communication, or perhaps they are shy in large groups. Social intranets also can yield insights about employees’ networks and relationships, as well as their attitudes towards work.

Gathering these insights is only half the battle. Once you are tuned into the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and your team, the task becomes leveraging those impacts to keep everyone productive, engaged, and working cohesively as a whole.

Delegation doesn’t come naturally for many small business owners. It’s a complete change of pace from what most business owners do during the startup phase — i.e., everything! But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

A big challenge that comes with delegation is avoiding micromanagement. If you have trouble letting go and compensate by trying to keep your fingers on every part of your business, you are undoing any good that can come from the delegation process.

The articles shared here will teach you the ins and outs of delegation, help you identify if you have a problem with micromanagement, and give you advice on how to create a thriving, efficient team.

How to Delegate and Grow Your Small Business

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Effective delegation starts with a desire to offload some of your work so you can focus on growing your business. Without delegation, your success as a small business owner is limited. Until a team is developed and daily business management responsibilities are delegated, the business can’t grow and, as a business owner, you will likely be overextended and highly frustrated.

This article walks you through seven steps that will help you delegate effectively in your small business.

How to Get into a Delegation Mindset

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

There is no denying that it is hard to let go of control and trust that everything will work out the way you want it to when you’re no longer hands-on and in the middle of every part of your business. But letting go it a necessary part of delegation.

To delegate effectively, you need to think like a delegator, and that often requires a change in your “I can do it all” mindset. This article provides some powerful tips for adopting a delegation mindset.

What Not to Do When Delegating

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Knowing what you should be doing when it comes to delegation is important, but it’s equally important to know what you should avoid doing. There are some things you can do that will stop the progress you’ve been making in delegation and set your team back.

Keep these five delegation no-no’s in mind as you work on building a team and delegating effectively.

Are You a Micromanager?

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

You might be a micromanager and not even know it. And it’s not entirely your fault. Most micromanagers don’t know how to delegate and interact with their team, so they revert to thinking that all of the business responsibilities are on their shoulders, watching over what the team does, redoing work, and stopping the flow.

That’s why it’s so important to identify if you are a micromanager. This article will help you make that determination.

How to Stop Micromanaging Right Now

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

If you just discovered that you are, in fact, a micromanager now is the time to do something about it. You will never achieve your business goals if you can’t let go and allow your team to do what you hired them to do.

This article walks you through five steps involved in stopping micromanagement and building a better team.

Small business owners who are successful at delegating have the time they need to focus on growing their businesses to new levels. The articles included above will give you some ideas about how you can delegate effectively while being reassured that nothing is falling through the cracks in your business.

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Like it or not, your industry is changing. Everything changes; it always has, and it always will. You can keep up with and be part of the changes, or you can overlook and ignore changes and let others pass you by.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep up with what’s trending in my industry. It’s not always easy, especially in a field like marketing, but I’ve managed to recognize and change with what’s shifting in my field. To help you do the same, here are seven ways you can identify and evolve with trends in your industry:

1. Take advantage of industry research and trends reports.

One of the simplest things you can do to better recognize trends is read research reports or solution guides. Often, industry leaders perform original research and compile their findings in one large report, and by taking the time to actually read through it beyond the executive summary, you can almost always find something in it that’s valuable and relevant to what’s trending right now in your space.

As the CEO of a content marketing agency, I like following a variety of marketing reports to stay on top of trends–whether it’s reading about trends in content marketing from Content Marketing Institute’s research reports or digging through a specific reports from ITSMA’s report library.

These reports don’t contain the word of god or anything, but reading a variety of reports can help you get a feel for the landscape and where things are headed. And you can use the info you gather for things like building keynote speeches or simply just making sure you’re leading your company in the right direction.

2. Regularly follow publications and influencers in your industry.

Let’s be honest–we don’t all have the time or desire to read through every interesting report a leader in our space produces. If you aren’t in it for the long read, a good alternative is making a point to read through top blogs and publications in your industry every day.

A lot of the articles in those publications will probably reference data from the longer reports you don’t have time to read in full anyway, so you can still gather that info in a more conversational, easy-to-digest format. For example, I wrote an article on PR trends in 2016, and in that article, I include data from industry reports, along with my personal experiences in the industry–both of which help my readers evolve with trends.

3. Use different tools and analytics systems to identify the direction trends are heading.

Depending on your industry, your audience, your goals, and even the size of your company, different tools and metrics will be important to you to identify trends.

Fortunately for me, when I look at things like Google Trends, I can see from a big-picture perspective that the area my company specializes in–thought leadership–is steadily increasing in search interest. To break it down more specifically, my marketing team uses tools like Google AdWords and Moz to better pinpoint exact keywords and queries, and from there, we can analyze the big picture and the smaller picture to evolve with those trends.

Whatever you use, it’s important to use a variety of tools together (from Google to your CRM system to a customizable analytics template) to track your customers’ behavior, any correlations among a specific audience, and your performance.

4. Make it a point to surround yourself with smart people.

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”? Well, it’s true–and especially so if we’re talking about trends and evolving your company with them.

I spoke at the Collision Conference (and at ITSMA shortly after), and between the two, I feel like there are a lot fewer surprises that can blindside me–the countless intelligent people at those events gave me a better pulse on where the industry is heading.

If you’re looking to find yourself in a room of smart people, you can check out the articles I’ve written on marketing conferences and entrepreneur conferences to point you in the right direction.

5. Build and maintain a close group of advisers.

“Boards of advisers” never really got me excited as a young entrepreneur–and, honestly, I still don’t care for them. The formality and structure of boards like these always seemed to stifle the kind of candid, conversational elements that make relationships so valuable.

Instead, I keep a very close group of friends, peers, and partners as my informal group of advisers. Together, they’re able to show me all kinds of different perspectives, help me see things that weren’t on my radar before, and spot what’s coming around the curve. And I can do the same for them.

6. Ask the right questions, and listen to your customers.

Don’t be afraid to ask current customers what’s on their radars and what they see as future needs in their areas. You can get solid insight into trends in general, and you can start developing more specific plans for your company to grow and better service clients down the road. I love grabbing dinner with a current client, hearing more about what the next five years might look like for them, and finding out what they need from us along the way.

We recently did this with publishing books as a service. Enough clients indicated it as a future need, and we realized that if we want to grow with them, we needed to find some way (either through our own offerings or through partnerships) to meet this need. Without asking customers the right questions, we may not have started testing this service for them.

7. Learn to accept–and even embrace–change.

My team has battled this idea a lot in the past with leads whose leadership teams were reluctant to change or evolve with content marketing. And I get it–it’s hard to try something different when you’re in your comfort zone and things are going well for you.

However, if you get too comfortable and adapt to trends too late in the game, a competitor will beat you to the punch. Then, instead of staying ahead of those trends, you’ll quickly try to play catch-up, which can cause even more problems in your execution. Accepting trends and change as facts of life and embracing them can help you avoid that.

Whether you’re ready for them or not, trends change industries every day. Knowing what’s coming around the corner and evolving your company alongside those changes can keep you competitive.

Delegation doesn’t come naturally for many small business owners. It’s a complete change of pace from what most business owners do during the startup phase — i.e., everything! But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

A big challenge that comes with delegation is avoiding micromanagement. If you have trouble letting go and compensate by trying to keep your fingers on every part of your business, you are undoing any good that can come from the delegation process.

The articles shared here will teach you the ins and outs of delegation, help you identify if you have a problem with micromanagement, and give you advice on how to create a thriving, efficient team.

How to Delegate and Grow Your Small Business

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Effective delegation starts with a desire to offload some of your work so you can focus on growing your business. Without delegation, your success as a small business owner is limited. Until a team is developed and daily business management responsibilities are delegated, the business can’t grow and, as a business owner, you will likely be overextended and highly frustrated.

This article walks you through seven steps that will help you delegate effectively in your small business.

How to Get into a Delegation Mindset

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

There is no denying that it is hard to let go of control and trust that everything will work out the way you want it to when you’re no longer hands-on and in the middle of every part of your business. But letting go it a necessary part of delegation.

To delegate effectively, you need to think like a delegator, and that often requires a change in your “I can do it all” mindset. This article provides some powerful tips for adopting a delegation mindset.

What Not to Do When Delegating

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Knowing what you should be doing when it comes to delegation is important, but it’s equally important to know what you should avoid doing. There are some things you can do that will stop the progress you’ve been making in delegation and set your team back.

Keep these five delegation no-no’s in mind as you work on building a team and delegating effectively.

Are You a Micromanager?

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

You might be a micromanager and not even know it. And it’s not entirely your fault. Most micromanagers don’t know how to delegate and interact with their team, so they revert to thinking that all of the business responsibilities are on their shoulders, watching over what the team does, redoing work, and stopping the flow.

That’s why it’s so important to identify if you are a micromanager. This article will help you make that determination.

How to Stop Micromanaging Right Now

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

If you just discovered that you are, in fact, a micromanager now is the time to do something about it. You will never achieve your business goals if you can’t let go and allow your team to do what you hired them to do.

This article walks you through five steps involved in stopping micromanagement and building a better team.

Small business owners who are successful at delegating have the time they need to focus on growing their businesses to new levels. The articles included above will give you some ideas about how you can delegate effectively while being reassured that nothing is falling through the cracks in your business.

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

Identifying Customer Needs

Identifying customer needs is mission-critical for businesses looking to create a product that truly speaks to their customers’ problems. Not to mention, the easiest way to position your brand smartly in the market is to unite your internal teams behind the specific needs of your customers.

What are customer needs?

Customer needs are the named and unnamed needs your customer has when they come in contact with your business, your competitors, or when they search for the solutions you provide.

To identify the needs of your customers, solicit feedback from your customers at every step of your process. You can identify customer needs in a number of ways, for example, by conducting focus groups, listening to your customers or social media, or doing keyword research.

However, identifying the needs of your customers is easier said than done. In our experience, there are a couple easy ways to gain insight into what your customers need from you.

Methods to Identify Customer Needs:

  1. Focus Groups
  2. Social Listening
  3. Keyword Research

For more resources to help you identify and understand the needs of your customers, check out our guide: Understanding Your Customer’s Needs and Wants in 3 Easy Steps.

Anticipating Customer Needs

Customers don’t part ways with brands that meet their every need. By anticipating customer needs, you can ensure that your product lines up with their expectations before they even have to ask for a new feature, service, or solution from you.

One of the earliest ways to determine your customer’s needs is to conduct keyword research. Think about how you function as a consumer. When you have a question about a product you’re using, is your first step to call the company and ask? Or is your first step to open Google and search for the answer to your question? Most consumers would choose the latter.

That means the secret needs of your customers actually reside in how they search for your product, your company, or your services online. For this reason, keyword research will give you the earliest insight into the needs of your customers.

Meeting Customer Needs

This is where the going gets tough. Because, once you have knowledge and data around what your customer needs from you, the next step is integrating that knowledge into already existing processes. Often this can mean revamping an entire marketing campaign. You may even need to plan, build and execute on a brand new facet of your product. Each business will have to approach this step differently, but we’ve created a framework for how you can identify, understand and meet customer needs.

How to identify your customer’s struggles and write useful articles

How to Meet the Needs of Customers:

You can follow a simple, four-step procedure to meet the needs of customers.

  • Identify what your customers need from you through keyword research, focus groups, or social listening.
  • Distribute the information to relevant stakeholders in your organization.
  • Craft product features or create content that speaks to your customer’s needs.
  • Collect customer feedback on how your efforts meet their expectations.

After you’ve identified what your customer needs from you, take the data you’ve collected seriously. If customers (or potential customers) are asking for something, big or small, make sure you deliver. Businesses that have a developed methodology for how they collect and share customer insights within their org will have the best luck at meeting customer needs quickly.

For some businesses, that could mean assigning a dedicated team to collect customer insights. Other businesses may be able to roll it into the responsibilities of existing departments. If you develop a strong system for how you discover, analyze and address customer needs, your organization will be set up for long-term success. So take the time and put in the legwork.

Why is it important to meet customer needs?

All of today’s most successful businesses take steps to meet customer needs early and often. For the modern marketer, taking strides to make sure your customers needs are met will help you align with other internal teams at your organization, like your sales team, customer support team, and your product team. With your whole organization operating under a cyclical process of anticipating, identifying and meeting customer needs, you’ll see results in no time.

Looking for more resources? If you’re looking to understand, identify and meet your customer’s needs, you’re already practicing customer-first marketing. What’s customer-first marketing? We’re glad you asked.