Every business wants to be value added. Be it in products, services, or both. But a prerequisite of being value added is to understand what the customers want. Not what the business wants. This is easier said than done.
Market competition also drives businesses to the imperative of satisfying their customers in order to survive. But not every entity is successful in meeting this business golden rule.
To wit, 20 percent small business fail within the first year, 50 percent by the end of fifth year, and majority (70 percent) after 10 years (source). In other words, being value-added is common knowledge but not common practice.
Why is it then so difficult to understand the customer? You may wonder. The answer is “not difficult” if customers’ data are readily available. Data like demographic, buying behavior, preference, pricing sensitivity, etc. contribute to customer profiles which in turn can be analyzed for patterns and insights.
In fact, detail data about the customers are being collected by offers (think free apps & discounts) and sensors (think mobile phones & coupons). Companies like Google, Facebook, and Verizon are serving as data brokers and profiting by monetizing the data.
Therefore to be value-added, it is imperative to focus on the customers and what they want. The responsibility of asking the questions and getting the answers is up to each business entity and their understanding of their customers.
What is more important: quality or quantity of customer data?