Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mind the gaps please...building a stronger future for your business

After a year of downturn, the last few weeks of more positive news on the economy have come as a welcome relief to all businesses. Commentators are still speculating on the strength and pace of the recovery but what we do know is that is has started. So what's next?
Many firms are now looking at the strength of their business, how well they have weathered the storm and making plans for the future. Every businesses has suffered in some way, however small, and it's now important to find any gaps or weaknesses in your service proposition and relationships with your clients so that you can determine where you are now and where you need to be. Focusing on building your strengths and adjusting your approach to correct any weaknesses in your proposition will ensure that you come out of the recession a stronger business and in the longer term, a more profitable one. So how do you go about doing this?
The solution lies in understanding where your customers are now and where they need and want to be. The only way to find out is to ask them. Does your business understand how it's customers have coped during the recession? How much do you know about their changing behaviours? Your clients' attitudes towards spending and saving will have changed markedly in the last year so it's paramount that firms understand their clients' views, needs and wants.
Different types or segment of customer will have differing opinions so if you haven't already segmented your clients into meaningful categories, start looking at this now. Knowing the different demographics of your customers pays real dividends. It helps to shape your communication, marketing and client servicing plans; especially if you combine a segmentation exercise with a survey asking your clients about their service preferences, communication requirements, buying potential, or attitude to different remuneration tariffs.
In this way you can determine whether your view of the value and proposition you bring to your clients is aligned with what they think, need and want. If this recession has opened up any gaps in your service proposition it's time to do something about them. Ask for your clients' opinions and keep on asking. In this way your firm will exit the recession as a stronger more informed business, ready to capitalise on the new opportunities that will come.


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